AppearanceThe Cape cormorant is an almost entirely glossy black bird, though in breeding condition it has a purplish tinge and a few white plumes on head, neck, and cloacal areas. Its gular skin is a deep orangey yellow; unusually for a cormorant, its lores are feathered. The bird's wing is about 240–280 mm in extent, and it weighs 800–1600 grams, with little sexual dimorphism.
DistributionIt breeds from Namibia south to southern Cape Province. In the nonbreeding season, it may be found as far north as the mouth of the Congo, and also extends up the east coast of South Africa as far as Mozambique.
BehaviorCape shags commonly forage in flocks, taking schooling fish from mid-water, such as pilchards, anchovies, and sandeels. Its prey are typically much smaller than those of the sympatric bank cormorant.
PredatorsTheir major predators are black-backed jackals, which take the occasional adult while it is roosting, and nest-site predators such as great cormorants, eastern great white pelicans, and kelp gulls.
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