Lionel the little black cormorant
Hullooo. I'm Lionel the little black cormorant, and I am one of the critters of Calamvale Creek in Brisbane, Australia.
One thing I'm especially good at is diving for fish. I can stay underwater for 30 seconds if necessary. I frequently take prey from the middle of the creek, and this is an area that the creek-bank loving Eddy the egret never goes.
Where do I live?
We cormorants love water. You won't find us in dry areas, and once we have settled in an area we will usually stay as long as there is a food supply.
Our numbers increase with time, and that will probably happen at Calamvale Creek.
At one time I was the only cormorant here, but the numbers of little blacks and pied cormorants visiting the wetland have been increasing.
My feathers are not waterproof, so you will often see me after a dive with my wings outstretched drying off. All the cormorants used to fight for a spot to dry off on a garbage bin that got into the creek, but during a heavy storm the day before Australia Day in January 2007, the bin washed downstream.
We also like perching on large rocks, and on dead branches that stick out of the water.
What do I eat?
I dive for fish, little crustaceans, and eat aquatic insects. I can chase my food underwater because I have large webbed feet that propel me quickly through the water. I'm like a little black torpedo. Because I'm black, I look like a shadow to fish, so I catch them quite easily.
I have special membranes that cover and protect my eyes as soon as I dive underwater. And I can swim fast. This is what I look like when I'm swimming above the surface.
Where do I build nests?
Cormorants breed mainly between spring and autumn, but it depends on food supply.
We build our nests out of dead sticks and fresh twigs, sometimes with the leaves still on them. We line them with leaves or bark, and shape them into a bulky platform with a dish-shaped middle.
They are usually in a fork of a tree, and once you've seen one you'll never forget it.
Mother Cormorant lays 3-6 pale green eggs, and both sexes contribute to nest-building, incubation, and feeding the babies. Our chicks have a dark grey crown.
— Lionel the little black cormorant