Little Pied Cormorants with young

To: "" <>
Subject: Little Pied Cormorants with young
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2019 02:08:04 +0000

All fair enough but I think we all know what we are referring to. Kym’s message, by leaving out one word, could ordinarily have been taken to suggest a breeding of one species (the big one), that is given the status in the COG ABR as “Rare, non-breeding visitor” but it clearly is not that. For what it is worth, I have never encountered that species in Canberra or vicinity. I wonder are all the records on the record, valid. Kym’s photos are of the other (small) one that is given the status in the COG ABR as a “Common breeding resident.“ Note I have corrected the subject header.




From: Steve Read [
Sent: Tuesday, 3 December, 2019 11:56 AM
To: Geoffrey Dabb
Cc: Philip Veerman
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Pied Cormorants with young


Thanks Geoffrey, Hi Philip


I understand that ‘Pied-cormorant’ is not the second part of a formal English name, because of the species relationships you note, Geoffrey. That’s fine. ‘Pied-cormorant’ is illegitimate.


The term ‘pied cormorant’, as an informal group name, can, I venture, be locally defined. Thus, it’s fine to say that we have two pied cormorants in Canberra, as you write, Geoffrey - as well as to say that I saw a pied cormorant this morning and I think it was a Little Pied Cormorant.




On Tue, 3 Dec 2019 at 8:36 am, Geoffrey Dabb <> wrote:

Yes, but not a simple matter.  Steve Read made the same point.  Actually I was only softening the message, without much thought.  I’ll try a few further thoughts.  It must be acknowledged that usage does not yet support either ‘Pied Cormorant’  or ‘pied cormorant’ as a way of referring to a bird that might be either a Great Pied or a Little Pied.


In part it comes down to this matter of group names for taxonomic groups.  You might write ‘pied-cormorants’ if you mean to refer to the Little Pied and the Great Pied.   Otherwise, if you mean ‘cormorants that are pied’ you might say ‘there are three pied cormorants in Australia’ (including the Black-faced) or even ‘four pied cormorants’ (including the Imperial Shag, which is a kind of cormorant). 


However there is a strong argument against a ‘pied-cormorant’ group.   The Little Pied is in a separate genus from the Great Pied, which is more closely related to the 2 black cormorants.  The practical difficulty is that someone who says, rather than writes, ‘I saw a pied cormorant’ is almost certainly, in the present state of usage, referring to a Great Pied.  If you want to capture both you could write ‘I saw both “Pied Cormorants” today’.  If just one, let’s bite the bullet: ‘I saw a cormorant today.  It could have been a Little Pied or a Great Pied’.   



From: Philip Veerman <>
Sent: Monday, 2 December 2019 8:17 PM
To: 'Geoffrey Dabb' <>
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Pied Cormorants with young


I wonder. Maybe correct to say it is now open to you to offer your viewers a ‘pied cormorant’ (no capitals and thus arguably descriptive, rather than a  name) on the basis that you are uncommitted as to the size, or species, of that particular Pied Cormorant.


Like ground parrot is a parrot of the ground but Ground Parrot is a name.


From: Geoffrey Dabb
Sent: Sunday, 1 December, 2019 7:28 PM
Subject: FW: [canberrabirds] Pied Cormorants with young


Thank you Kym. At the risk of appearing to be a compulsive correctionist, the ones I can see look like Little Pied Cormorants.  However, as in the Australian list the former ‘Pied Cormorant’ is now a ‘Great Pied Cormorant’, it is now open to you to offer your viewers a ‘Pied Cormorant’ on the basis that you are uncommitted as to the size, or species, of that particular Pied Cormorant.


From: kym bradley <>
Sent: Sunday, 1 December 2019 6:37 PM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Pied Cormorants with young


at least 8 nests with young or sitting ( could be young underneath or eggs did not raise to see )


4th image below the juveniles you can see another sitting


The juveniles in image 4 went in the water fed by a parent then back in the nest the parent then sat on the nest


also Teal ducklings


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