Scientific name

Phalacrocorax nigrogularis

Locally known as


IUCN status



As part of our long-term monitoring of breeding birds, our team visits all known cormorant breeding sites every winter when the birds are at nest. More than 40,000- 45000 breeding pairs have been recorded in the Abu Dhabi Emirate, making it the highest number.

Key threats

Coastal development, disturbances and marine pollution near nesting colonies.

Where they're found today

The Socotra Cormorant is a local resident of the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

Abu Dhabi’s efforts

The farsh is an over-exploited species in the UAE. In recognition of this, EAD with its partner the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, has implemented management measures to enable the species to return to sustainable levels. These include the gargoor ban, a ban on fishing during spawning season and a minimum size for catch.

Fun facts

  1. The Socotra cormorant dives for food, with some reports suggesting that it can stay submerged for up to three minutes at a time.
  2. In the 1980s, scientists found a roosting flock of 250,000 of the birds.
  3. The Socotra cormorant usually looks entirely black, but when breeding it takes on a far more purplish shade.
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