This post is also available in: Swedish

Pygmy cormorant – Microcarbo pygmaeus

Pygmy cormorant – Microcarbo pygmaeus
is a member of the Phalacrocoracidae (cormorant) family of seabirds. It breeds in south-eastern Europe and south-western Asia. It is partially migratory, with northern populations wintering further south, mostly within its breeding range. It is a rare migrant to western Europe.

The pygmy cormorant occupies an area from the south-east of Europe (east of Italy) and south-west of Asia, east to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The largest distribution is in south-east Europe, Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, the Balkan countries, Turkey, Cyprus, Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Israel, Syria. In Romania, according to studies of Czech ornithologist Robert Ritter von Dombrowski, at the end of the 19th century, the pygmy cormorant was present in large colonies in the Danube Delta, Brăila and Ialomița Pond, on Vederoasa Lake (Constanța County), on certain pools and ponds with reeds and willows in Muntenia. The number of pygmy cormorant pairs was 10,000 without taking in account the breeding population of the Danube Delta.

Populations of pygmy cormorant in Romania have dramatically declined, especially in 1960 when, due to the communist agricultural policies, the Great Brăila Island and important parts of Ialomiţa Pond were drained in order to practice agriculture, so the habitats of a great number of aquatic birds were destroyed. The pygmy cormorant can be found in the Danube Delta, Jijia Largă Pond (Iasi County), probably on Maţa, Rădeanu, Vădeni Ponds (in Galați County), Cârja Pond (Vaslui County), at Vlădeşti on Prut River (Galați County), on Calinovăţ Island from Caraș-Severin County, on Small Brăila Island, on Dunăreni Pond (Mârleanu, Constanța County), in Danubian Plain on Parches Pond-Somova (Tulcea County). At the global scale, it was estimated that the entire population of pygmy cormorants is 85,000-180,000 individuals (a study effectuated by Wetlands International in 2006) and 74-94% of total population lives in Europe. The biggest colony is in the Danube Delta, numbering 4,000 pairs, but this seems certain to plunge due to a massive canalization scheme, which despite the protected status of the delta, commenced in May 2004. According to a study made by BirdLife International in 2004, it was estimated that population of pygmy cormorant in Romania was 11,500-14,000 pairs and during the winter 1,500-4,000 pairs.

It sounds like this
Recording by Marco Dragonetti from Xeno canto