Friday, July 19, 2024
Michael Stone Online

VIDEO: No Flying for the Deep-Diving Flightless Cormorant

Endemism in the Galapagos has brought the world some pretty cool creatures. Iguanas that can shrink their bone size when food’s scare. A tropical penguin. And a blue-eyed bird with scrappy, unusable wings.

The flightless cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi), a Vulnerable species, is greatly isolated compared to most other birds, having only two of the islands to call home. The total population is believed to be less than 2,000 individuals.

For it’s bulky body, the bird’s wings are about a third of the size they’d need to be for flight, making it the only flightless member of the 27 cormorant species. But evolution has compensated with mad swimming skills, including the ability to dive as high as a recorded 239 feet.

Enjoy the above video of these magnificent birds from my trip to the Galapagos late last year.

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