|Guanay Cormorant Phalacrocorax bougainvilliorum
(aka Phalacrocorax bougainvillii)
Chilean name: Guanay
The Guanay Cormorant is distributed off the coast of Peru and northern and central Chile (see xeno-canto). There is a disjunct population off the coast of south central Argentina. It breeds in enormous colonies on flat islands often alongside Peruvian Pelican Pelecanus thagus and Peruvian Booby Sula variegata.
It was these three species that provided the bulk of the guano for the incredibly lucrative trade in guano for fertiliser. The Guanay Cormorant was the most important species of the three and was known as the "billion dollar bird." Almost inevitably, given the greed of man, the guano deposits were over exploited, the birds suffered a severe decline in numbers and the trade almost disappeared.
|It feeds out at sea almost exclusively on anchoveta and the population can vary significantly from year to year depending on the abundance or otherwise of anchoveta which in turn seems to depend very much on el Niño.
It is a large cormorant and is black above and white below. The white breast reaches up the neck and there is a white patch on the throat. There is a patch of bare red skin around the blue eye.