The Crowned Cormorant, Phalacrocorax coronatus, is a small cormorant that is endemic to Namibia and the western seaboard of South Africa. It is a marine species, found on islands, coasts and estuaries usually within 10 km of land.
It builds a nest from kelp, sticks, bones and lines it with kelp or feathers. The nest is usually in an elevated position such as a rocks, trees or man-made structures, but may be built on the ground.
The Crowned Cormorant is 50-55 cm in length. Adults are black with a small crest on the head and a red face patch.
Young birds are dark brown above, paler brown below, and lack the crest. They can be distinguished from immature Reed Cormorants by their darker underparts and shorter tail.
Crowned Cormorants feed on slow-moving fish and invertebrates, which they forage for in shallow coastal waters and among kelp beds.
The population appears to be between 2500 and 2900 breeding pairs. Ringing recoveries show that juveniles may disperse up to 277 km from their nests, and adults move between breeding sites over 500 km apart.
Threats to the species include predation of eggs and chicks by Kelp Gulls and White Pelicans, human disturbance, oiling, and commercial fishing activities, including entanglement in marine debris and fishing gear.