Taxonomy, distribution, population size and conservation of the Crowned Cormorant Phalacrocorax coronatus
The specific status of the crowned cormorant, P. coronatus (Wahlberg), 1855, is confirmed by an examination of known morphological characters, use of new ones and a synchronous parapatric breeding distribution with the reed cormorant, P. africanus, in the southwestern Cape, South Africa. The crowned cormorant breeds only in southwestern Africa from Walvis Bay on the coast of South West Africa/Namibia to Aasfontein in the Bredasdorp District of the Cape Province, South Africa. The nonbreeding range extends from Swakopmund, South West Africa, to near the Gouritz River estuary, South Africa. Censuses of nests and breeding birds at all known breeding localities from 1977-1981 revealed a total breeeding population of the species of 2665 pairs. Recommendations for the conservation of the species are made, protection of breeding localities from human disturbance being important.