Neotropic Cormorant

1/800s at f8.0, ISO:500, Canon Mark III 1Ds w/800mm, 1.4x converter

The Neotropic Cormorant is a medium-sized cormorant found throughout the American tropics and subtropics, from the middle Rio Grande and the Gulf and Californian coasts of the USA south through Mexico and Central America to southern South America. It also breeds on the Bahamas, Cuba and Trinidad. It can be found both at coasts and on inland waters. Its diet consists mainly of small fish, but will also eat tadpoles, frogs, and aquatic insects. This cormorant forages for food by diving underwater, propelling itself by its feet. Its dives are brief, between 5 and 15 seconds. It is also known to forage in groups, with several birds beating the water with their wings to drive fish forward into shallows. Neotropic Cormorants are monogamous and breed in colonies. The nest is a platform of sticks with a depression in the center circled with twigs and grass. It is built a few meters above the ground or water in bushes or trees. Up to five chalky, bluish-white eggs are laid. Most pairs lay 3 eggs, but the mean number hatched is less than 2. The eggs soon become nest-stained. Both sexes incubate for about 2530 days, and both parents feed the young until around the 11th week. By week 12, they are independent. One brood is raised per year.
Bosque del Apache, N.W.R.