Microcarbo is a genus of fish-eating birds, known as cormorants, of the family Phalacrocoracidae. The genus was formerly subsumed within Phalacrocorax.

Microcarbo melanoleucos Austins Ferry 3.jpg
Little pied cormorant
Microcarbo melanoleucos
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Suliformes
Family: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Microcarbo
Bonaparte, 1856
Type species
Phalacrocorax pygmaeus

See text


Nanocorax (in part)

Microcarbo has been recognized as a valid genus by the IOC's World Bird List[1] on the basis of work by Siegel-Causey (1988), Kennedy et al. (2000), and Christidis and Boles (2008).

As suggested by the name, this genus contains the smallest of the world's cormorants. It is also the most basal, having diverged from the rest of the family between 12.8 to 15.4 million years ago.[2]

The genus contains five extant species.[1]

List of speciesEdit

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
  Microcarbo coronatus Crowned cormorant Cape Agulhas north to Swakopmund along the coast of southern Africa
  Microcarbo niger Little cormorant Indian Subcontinent east to Java
  Microcarbo melanoleucos Little pied cormorant New Zealand, from Stewart Island to Northland, mainland Australia, Tasmania and Indonesia
  Microcarbo pygmaeus Pygmy cormorant south-east of Europe (east of Italy) and south-west of Asia, in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
  Microcarbo africanus Reed cormorant Africa south of the Sahara, and Madagascar


  1. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Hamerkop, Shoebill, pelicans, boobies, cormorants". World Bird List Version 9.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Classification of the cormorants of the world". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 79: 249–257. 2014-10-01. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.06.020. ISSN 1055-7903.
  • Christidis, L., and W. E. Boles. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia.
  • Kennedy, M., R. D. Gray, and H. G. Spencer. 2000. The phylogenetic relationships of the shags and cormorants: can sequence data resolve a disagreement between behavior and morphology? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 17: 345–359.
  • Siegel-Causey, D. 1988. Phylogeny of the Phalacrocoracidae. Condor 90: 885–905. Available at [1] (Accessed 13 May 2010).