Pygmy Cormorant is rounded, fluffed-up head and shorter bill give it a gentler, more comical appearance than the other cormorants and its long paddle-like tail sticks out almost as much as its head so it can sometimes appear to be flying backwards. The distinctive head shape, long tail and small size are all good ways to identify this bird and at close range you should also notice that the adults have brown heads and black bodies

Phalacrocorax Pygmeus is the smallest of the three European cormorants. It is restricted to the south-east of the western Palearctic but has occurred accidentally in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and Tunisia.Today, it breeds in Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey, Ukraine and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (in Serbia), mainly along the coast of the Caspian Sea. It is not known whether it still breeds today in south-east Iraq and Iran. The world population is estimated to be c.13,000 pairs. Rose and Scott (1994) estimate the world population at c.30,000 individuals.
The species was more widespread during the Middle Ages, including even the British Isles. It stopped breeding in the Aral Sea area in the 1970s. It is extinct in Hungary (although apparently bred again there in 1988) and was considered to be a breeding species in Algeria in the nineteenth century. In 1940 it probably bred for the last time in Israel , but may breeding again, although nests have still not be found . It bred in Italy in 1980, 1981 and 1994, when three breeding pairs were discovered.

Pygmy Cormorant is a species of warm climates, mainly restricted to lowland freshwater and brackish habitats. It has been recorded in: open water with sizeable trees in the proximity; fresh or brackish marshes with thick reedbeds; open water or slow-flowing fresh water, including oxbows, backwaters, ricefields, swamps and flooded fields where fish can be easily caught in shallow water; densely vegetated areas with trees, bushes and even small floating islets of dead plants. Wintering is mainly in coastal lagoons and deltas, and along rivers in riparian forest, but also in inland wetlands (e.g. at Lakes Prespa, Kerkini and Kastoria in Greece; Ovcharitza in Bulgaria; Sultan marshes, Lakes Uluabat and Isikli in Turkey). There is no information available on passage habitats.

Pair-bonding activity takes place in the wintering areas, and eggs are eventually laid between the end of March and early July. Pygmy Cormorants breed in colonies, often with other species (cormorants, herons, Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus, etc.). Nests are in dense trees or bushes on medium to high branches or in thick reedbeds 1-1.5 m above water-level. At Lake Kerkini in Greece, birds nest in mixed colonies in flooded forest; nests are 2.2-5.5 m above ground. Old nests are often repaired and re-used, and if nests are destroyed the birds will build a new. Clutch size is 2-8. Mean hatching success is 77.1% (74.0-78.7%), and the mean survival rate to three weeks old is 69.1% (68.1-69.9%). The young fledge at 6-7 weeks old.

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