[Tweeters] Red-faced Comorant v. Pelagic ID Problem (explained by Dennis Paulson)

Wayne Weber contopus at telus.net
Sat Apr 5 21:03:49 PDT 2014


The other important fact about Red-faced Cormorants, not mentioned by Dennis
in his message, is that they are much larger than Pelagic Cormorants--
almost the size of a Double-crested. A Red-faced Cormorant in with a group
of Pelagics would look obviously larger than the Pelagics.

Wayne C. Weber

Delta, BC

contopus at telus.net

From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Carol &
Lynn Schulz
Sent: April-05-14 6:36 PM
To: Tweeters
Subject: [Tweeters] Red-faced Comorant v. Pelagic ID Problem (explained by
Dennis Paulson)

Hi Tweeters:

A few years ago I reported a "Red-faced Cormorant" at Brown's Point, Tacoma
about this time of year. It was not, even though my Pelagic Cormorant had
much more red on the face up and over the bill, than what I thought was
normal. After I apologized to Tweeters, I was told that a good field mark
for Red-faced Cormorant is that it has a LIGHT-COLORED BILL, versus a dark
bill for Pelagic. Here is a great msg that Dennis Paulson wrote back in
2011 about the ID problem so many of us have w/ Pelagic/Red-faced ID this
time of year when they are in breeding plumage.

Yours, Carol Schulz

Des Moines

From: Dennis Paulson <mailto:dennispaulson at comcast.net>

Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2011 1:53 PM

To: tweeters at u.washington.edu

Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Red-faced Comorants at Alki Point, Seattle

Hello, tweeters.

I'm not sure if all of our birders know how incredibly showy
breeding-plumaged Pelagic Cormorants can be. The red face glows at this time
of year, they have big white flank patches, and the bill can actually be
partially pale, rather than the black on nonbreeding times. When we went to
Tongue Point to look for the reported Red-faced, we saw several Pelagics
like this, and each one prompted the thought "is that the Red-faced?" until
I got a better look at it.

In a Red-faced Cormorant, the red face patch is twice as large, extending
above and well behind the eyes as well as conspicuously over the bill base.
In full plumage, the bill has not only yellow on the lower mandible but is
vivid blue at the base. The red throat skin is also more extensive than in
Pelagic, in which you don't usually see any such thing. The paintings in
David Sibley's guide are so small that you can't see this kind of detail,
and I would do a Google Image Search on both species to see it.

The upperparts of a Red-faced Cormorant are bronzy brown, the wings the same
color as the back, while in Pelagic, the predominant color is blue, with
some reddish-purple in the scapulars. The backs look very different, and
this would be a good thing to see to confirm a Red-faced. This is such a
rare species south of its breeding range in the Aleutians, and is considered
nonmigratory, that records of it south of Alaska will just about have to be
documented by photos.


Dennis Paulson

1724 NE 98 St.

Seattle, WA 98115


dennispaulson at comcast.net

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