Skip navigation
Go to home page > Species > Flightless cormorant

Flightless cormorant

Flightless cormorant in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
© Marek Jackowski

Common name:

Flightless cormorant

Scientific name:

Phalacrocorax harrisi

Spanish name:

Cormoran mancón

Conservation status:



Average lifespan:

Up to 50 years

Average size:

90 centimetres

Maximum size:

1 metre

Average weight:

3 kilograms

Maximum weight:

5 kilograms


The Galapagos flightless cormorant is an endemic species to Galapagos, and is not only the heaviest cormorant species, but also the only one out of 29 species which cannot fly. They are therefore confined to the lava shoreline and beaches of Isabela and Fernandina. The adults are black on top and dark brown underneath with bright turquoise eyes. They have stunted wings that are one third the size of the wingspan they would require to fly. They have four webbed toes (like all members of the cormorant family) and the females tend to be smaller than the males. Natural selection led to the species no longer having functional wings as they had very few land predators, and individuals that were better suited to swimming were more successful in passing on their genes.

Flightless cormorants in Galapagos

How you can help

Please help us protect the wildlife of Galapagos by donating today.

Read more about flightless cormorants...

6th Oct 2016

What do tortoises, seabirds and whale sharks have in common?

The answer is that GCT funds projects that are working to conserve them! Here are the latest updates from the field.
Read more

Get the latest news from Galapagos

Join our mailing list to receive our monthly email newsletter, bringing you the latest news on Galapagos and our work to protect the Islands.

Share This Page