Galapagos Flightless Cormorant

Master of Adaptability - The Galapagos Cormorant

The Galapagos flightless cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi) is a great example of the adaptability of the species in situations where they have to compete for food. The cormorant can grow up to a meter high and weigh up to 5 Kilogrammes. They have unlearned flying and picked up fishing instead! Its current wings are one-third of the size it requires to fly. The cormorants are endemic to the Galapagos Island and are considered to be one of the rarest birds in the world. They live on the rocky coasts of two Galapagos Islands-

  • Isabela Island (North and West)
  • Fernandina Island (East coast)

The plentiful supply of fishes in the western area of the Galapagos archipelago has made this area very attractive to the cormorants.  To plan your trip better, check out our Galapagos Islands monthly animal activities chart.

The Flightless Cormorant on Isabela Island in the Galapagos
Galapagos Cormorant stretches it's unflying wings

Habitat and Diet

The Galapagos cormorant feed mainly on fishes and they do not move further than 3 kilometres from their current living space. They skip gracefully in water and are extremely good swimmers. To hunt for food underwater, the cormorants can dive up to 70 metres and stay underwater for up to 3 minutes. They can give birth twice a year and both cormorants take on the responsibility of building the nest. Once the babies are able to leave their nest, the female cormorant will leave to search for a new partner for the second breeding season while the male cormorant stays behind to take care of the young ones.

Species Protection

Due to their uniqueness, the cormorants are under extra protection. The Galapagos National park estimates that there are around 1500 cormorants. The cormorant remains vulnerable to any changes in their habitat.


Travel advice for visitors:

You will be able to spot the Galapagos cormorant all year around in the western and northern coasts of Isabela Island as well as the east coast at Fernandina Island. Both islands are situated far west in the Galapagos archipelago and can only be reached with a cruise. Visitors cannot visit the west of Isabela Island with a boat from Puerto Villamil.

✪ Our Galapagos Tours ✪

Flightless Cormorants

Galapagos Cruise: Western Cormorant Route

Duration: 8 - 12 days
Highlights: Flightless Cormorants, Volcano, Urbina Bay, Isabela Island, Pinguine, Meerechsen beim Schnorcheln

Discover the endemic flightless cormorant on the island of Fernandina

From 3110,- USD
Price per pax