• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco


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Double-crested Cormorant

(Phalacrocorax auritus)
Double-crested cormorant
A Double-crested Cormorant stretches its wings at Crissy Field shoreline.
Will Elder, NPS

Natural History: This bird forages for fish, mostly by diving and being able to stay underwater for about 30 seconds. It tends to rest and roost on offshore cliffs and on rocks, wharfs, and branches. It sometimes rests on water. Its takeoff is quite laborious. The nests are quite sensitive to disturbance and are found on rocky cliffs, slopes, and tall trees. Breeding season runs from April to August. This species is monogamous by nature and nests colonially.

General Distribution: In the Presidio, this species can be found in bays, the ocean, ponds, and tidal rocky areas.

Frequency: The Double-crested Cormorant is common throughout the year within the Presidio.

Identifying Characteristics: This bird has the tendency to be an upright percher with a S-shaped neck and hook-tipped bill. Unlike its relative, the Brandt's Cormorant, this species displays an orange-yellow throat pouch. These birds tend to cluster in silent flocks, forming in geese-like patterns.

Presidio Birds main page

Did You Know?

U.S. Army major rank insignia

In 1915, a tragic fire at the Presidio claimed the lives of General Pershing’s wife and his three daughters. Pershing's son, Francis Warren, survived the blaze and chose to enlist in the army as a private during World War II. By the end of the war he had achieved the rank of major.