Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

This bird primarily contains itself to the coast unlike the smaller Pied Cormorants which will often venture inland. If you look out over the rocks or along the coast you may see the Great Cormorant hanging about with its wings outstretched drying after a fishing expedition. The white throat patches and yellow facial skin are stand-out features.

Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)

Little Black Cormorant on the rocks near 2nd Surf Beach

An all dark cormorant smaller than the Great Cormorant and distinguished by the absence of coloured skin on the head and face. More likely to be seen amongst the coastal rocks rather than inland on the wetlands.

Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos)

Little Pied Cormorants are similar in size to the Little Black. They are seen on the coastal rocks and flying along the coast but also venture inland a little and they are often seen around The Cape wetlands.

Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius)

Slightly larger than the similar looking Little Pied Cormorant, these birds often hang out together and the key differentiator is the size and the coloured facial skin. You will see them flying over The Cape wetlands and open spaces inland from the coast occasionally.

Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)

The “fish and chip” bird of Australia. You will see them in small and larger groups all along the coast. A very opportunistic bird so please do not encourage these birds by feeding them. They are an attractive bird and have some interesting behaviours if you take the time to observe them in their natural habitat. They sometimes venture into The Cape housing estate but they are irregular visitors.

Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus) NEAR-THREATENED

A larger bird than the Silver Gull, you can see them regularly along the coast. A beautiful bird, quite graceful in flight, and generally in pairs or small flocks. The juvenile/immature birds are brown in colour and take about 3 years to reach the white and black adult plumage. You will often see them close-by to people fishing on the beach and rocks waiting for discarded bait. They also glide up and down the coast in the breeze and reportedly venture to Phillip Island to feed on fledgling Shearwaters in April. They are a near-threatened species in Victoria.

Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii)

Small flocks of Crested Tern usually hang out on the rocks along the coast and they regularly do a fly-by along the beach. Often co-located with the Silver Gulls. Pretty handy at feeding for small fish and will also plunge dive much like the Australasian Gannet. With fish in the bill and in flight, look out for other terns and gulls in pursuit of their catch!

Nature Observations around The Cape

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