Sunday, September 25, 2011

Flightless Cormorant

A lesser known, but no less unique species of the Galapagos is the Flightless Cormorant. It is unique because it has lost its ability to fly and its stumpy little wings are now no more than vestigial structures. Like all Cormorants the bird has webbed feet and powerful legs that is uses to hunt for fish, eels and octopuses on the sea floor. The cormorants have very little oil on their feathers and spend a great deal of time preening in the sun to dry off. The cormorants had no need to fly on the Galapagos since there were no natural predators and their shorter wings made them better more aerodynamic swimmers so over time they evolved the loss of flight. However now with so many introduced species of predators like cats, dogs and pigs the birds are in great danger and are endangered. They are also heavily affected by the extreme temperature fluctuation during El Nino, which is getting worse due to climate change.

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Flightless Cormorant from Rebecca Yale on Vimeo.

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