Australasian Darter

The Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae) is also called the Australian Darter or Australian Shag. It is found in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.

The Australasian Darter is slim with a long, thin neck and a long, yellow beak. It has glossy black feathers. The male has a white streak down the side of its head and neck, whereas the female has white underparts.

Continue reading “Australasian Darter”

Long-Tailed Cormorant

The Long-Tailed Cormorant (Phalacrocorax africanus africanus) is a large African wetlands bird with a long tail. It is also known as the Reed Cormorant.

It has black glossy feathers with some green iridescence. Its beak is yellow and smaller than the beak of the Great Cormorant. Its eyes are red, and its webbed feet are black.

It can grow to 56 centimetres (22 inches) tall, with an 85 centimetre (34 inch) wingspan.

Continue reading “Long-Tailed Cormorant”

White-Breasted Cormorant

The White-Breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) is a large wetlands bird in the Phalacrocoracidae family of short tailed cormorants. It is also known as the African Great Cormorant or the African Great Black Cormorant.

The White-Breasted Cormorant is black with white cheeks, throat and chest. Its feathers are glossy with some green iridescence. Its tail is short and black. Its beak is grey, its eyes are green, and its webbed feet are black.

Continue reading “White-Breasted Cormorant”

RESEARCH: Why can’t the Galapagos Island cormorant fly?

There is a bird species of cormorant on the Galápagos Islands that cannot fly. It is the only cormorant species in the world that has lost its ability to fly. Why?

Emus and ostriches cannot fly. They are very large birds. The Galápagos Islands cormorant is not a very large bird.

Scientists have found the genes that are present in birds, mammals and most animals, that may have the answer. The genes are called C. elegans.

The genes affect bone growth. In birds, a mutation (change) of the genes cause a weaker breastbone and smaller wings, which are not effective for flying. Scientists think that the mutation of the genes in Galápagos Islands cormorants occurred about two million years ago.

Continue reading “RESEARCH: Why can’t the Galapagos Island cormorant fly?”