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(Phalacrocoracidae), afamily of birds of the order Pelecaniformes.
Cormorants are excellent divers and underwater swimmers. The plumage of most cormorants is black. The length of the body ranges from 55 cm (pygmy cormorant) to 92 cm (European cormorant). The family includes two genera: Nannopterum (one flightless species), found on the Galapagos Islands, and true cormorants, or Phalacrocorax, found in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. In the USSR there are six species: European, green, pelagic, red-faced, Temminck’s, and pygmy cormorants. Until the middle of the 19th century, Pallas’ cormorant, a flightless bird, lived on Bering Island. Cormorants nest in colonies on rocks or in trees. They feed on fish; this sometimes harms the fishing industry.