Too bad, my vacations are over… Now it’s time for another interesting skull story! This time I want to show you a very cool bird skull, which was a surprising gift of my trusted taxidermist! As you can see at its beak, it was a fish eating bird. And there is more, something very special on that cormorant skull. Pictures and more of the story under the cut!
About the bird: Cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo), which are also known as sea ravens, are big black birds. They are a bit smaller than common geese. They love to eat a lot of fish: about 300gr per day! Normally cormorants live in flocks, so it’s no wonder that fishermen don’t like these birds.
The plants of the shoreline, especially the roots of trees, often get damaged if there are too many of these birds who like to live on shores of waterbodies. This is because cormorant poo is tartly!
The plumage of cormorants is very special, because it isn’t water-repellent! So, after hunting (cormorants dive after fish) these birds need to dry their feathers. You can see them with open wings very often.
Cormorants can dive about 10m into the deep and can stay under water for about 40 seconds!
Oh, and they cast pellets, too!
|The cormorants of South Africa have white bellies.|
So, but now back to the skull! Without that “spike” on the back of the skull it’s about 14cm long. This was a bigger cormorant, because I‘ve seen some smaller cormorant skulls before.
The beak is very long and hooked.
But what’s about that spike? The cormorant needs that little bone, I think it’s called nuchal bone (please correct me if I’m wrong), for pushing up a feather “comb”! I think it’s very unique because I never noticed such a special bone by other bird skulls.
The back of the skull has a very interesting shape, maybe of the nuchal bone. Muscles must be attached somewhere, right?
Look, the nostrils a very small!
We don't have a lot of cormorants arround here, so I'm always happy to see one.