Socotra Cormorant

Phalacrocorax Nigrogularis

Species name: Socotra cormorant
Scientific name: Phalacrocorax nigrogularis

Locally known as: Looh


Description: The Socotra cormorant are particularly sociable and are known to roost in large flocks. They are a truly marine species and almost never seen inland. The adults are black with slim necks whereas immature birds are brownish and often pale on the lower breast and belly.


IUCN status: Vulnerable.


Key threats: Coastal development, disturbances and marine pollution near nesting colonies.


Where they’re found: The Socotra Cormorant is a local resident of the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.


Abu Dhabi Efforts: 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 of breeding Socotra Cormorant ever recorded in the past 15 years. Breeding has occurred on six different islands, all of which are located within our Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network.


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.