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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"F" For Flightless Feathered Friends on Fernandina


                                                                                                                                                                 Photo by Richard Schear
Flightless cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi), also known as Galapagos cormorants, are unique because they are the only cormorants to have lost the ability to fly. This bird is the largest cormorant on the planet today, also one of the world's rarest birds, and the subject of an active conservation program.

After diving for food (fish, eels and small octopi) in the shallow water no more than 100 meters off the shores of only two islands, Isabela and Fernandina, the cormorants dry their short wings in the sun (as shown in the picture above) because their feathers are not waterproof.

In the Wikipedia photo to the right, we can see the bird's upper coloring is blackish, its lower parts brown, and its eye turquoise.
I wish my eyes were turquoise.

Posted for the letter F in ABC Wednesday,
an alphabetic meme hosted weekly by Mrs. Nesbitt's
team of fantastic photographers.


To see how other people around the world used the letter F,
please click
HERE!

38 comments:

Leslie: said...

Fascinating feathered friends here! lol It's interesting how the birds dive for food but then have to come back up to dry off. Have a fun-filled week, Kay!

Leslie
ABCW Team

KLo said...

Very cool :-)

Is it weird that I noticed the large number of crabs in the foreground of the big pic? It's so interesting what draws the eye ...

Filip Demuinck said...

Always special, these birds with their wings open.

EG Wow said...

How interesting they cannot fly! Fascinating, Kaye!

Roger Owen Green said...

fine feathered fotos.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Sylvia K said...

What an interesting bird and post for the F Day! You have been to so many interesting places and I'm so glad that you share them with us!! Hope your week is going well, Kay!

Sylvia
ABC Team

photowannabe said...

Fancy Fishing Feathered Friends.
(:0)

Pagan Sphinx said...

I didn't know they can't fly! I guess the birds I thought were cormorants can't be since I always notice them sitting along wires, high up.

I like how they make a big display of flying in your photos!

Kim, USA said...

Very interesting thanks for sharing!
ABC Wednesday-F

Carver said...

Fantastic shots and post for the letter F. I haven't ever seen the flightless cormorants although there are flighty ones at the lake near me.

Gigi Ann said...

I always like learning things about nature. This is an interesting F Post today.

Jingle said...

what a fun F word play.
love the flow.

magiceye said...

beautiful take on the theme!

Hildred and Charles said...

Love that first photo!

Powell River Books said...

I've always wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands but probably won't get the chance. I've traveled so many places through your posts. - Margy

Lily Hydrangea said...

Interesting F post Miss Kay. & I love your idea of having turquoise eyes.

Kay said...

This is so interesting, Kay. I've never heard of flightless cormorants. It's amazing that it's got regular looking feathers but can't fly.

Cezar and Léia said...

This critter is adorable, I love your pictures!
hugs
Léia

Greyscale Territory said...

Intriguing cormorants! I didn't know this! We have large and small cormorants round the peninsula and they are a familiar sight standing on rocks or boats drying their wings!

Andy said...

Thank you. I learned something on my visit to your blog. In Ontario when the warm weather arrives so do the cormorants. I don't ever remember seeing them when I was kid.

anthonynorth said...

Excellent, as always.

Mara said...

I love those birds! I was once told by a conservationist that 'normal' cormorants shouldn't be able to fly either: their bones are too heavy really. Another fluke of nature!

Life with Kaishon said...

That is absolutely fascinating. I will have to show this to Kaishon when he wakes up. I love the education I get every Wednesday. thank you Miss K! Love, Becky

jabblog said...

I wonder why they evolved to flightlessness (is there such a word?) Presumably they have few natural predators so have no need to fly.

Debbie Smith said...

I've been to Fernadina!! Visited there while on a home exchange in Ponte Vedra Beach. I even wrote a story! HA!
Such a great shot, I love it!
Getting all your plans sorted out for the big trip! I have some more info for you regarding trains, per Stijn.
Have a fabulous day!
Debbie

Debbie Smith said...

Well, not that Fernandina....ooops!

Nanka said...

The first foto was fascinating and set me thinking...did the makers of the film Titanic get their idea from here for the now famous pose?? :D

N. R. Williams said...

Interesting to learn that they cannot fly.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

helenmac said...

Kay your feathered friends are so much more fantastic than mine, but mine can fly!
HelenMac, ABC Wednesday Team :)

Martha Z said...

Those are small wings compared to the cormorants I see here. I can see how Darwin came to believe in natural selection when he saw the unusual animals of the Galapagos.

Tiger85 said...

This quite interesting and thanks for your comment.

http://tigeronmybookshelf.blogspot.com/

Tumblewords: said...

Amazing information. Flapping feathered wings doesn't always lead to fantastic flight. :)

marina said...

Great post! love the photo of the cormorants drying their feathers.
I too would love to have turquoise eyes :-)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I don't always read the alphabet meme because I can't afford (time) to get hooked on another one ;>) --but I'm very glad I read this one of yours -- I love the little snippets of natural history you teach so painlessly.

I have seen just regular plain old everyday US cormorants sit with their wings like that, maybe they aren't waterproof either. Must look that up.

Cildemer said...

An original and informative post for F day!
Didn't know about those birds!
He he he! They have got nice turquoise eyes but they look ridiculous with such small wings;o)

***
Hope you are having a happy week, Kay****

cieldequimper said...

Oooh fantastic. And I love those red crabs!

Francisca said...

Really can't fly? How fascinating! These cormorants look different from the ones I see in China. Great F post, Kay!

Hooked on Memes said...

Fascinating!