There are something like 15,000 fish in the Moat of different sizes, some substantial carp. The cormorant eats an exclusive diet of fish, therefore, inevitably at some time, the two would come together.


Until recently, the cormorant was an exclusively coastal bird, often seen on the Thames, but in recent years has moved inland to feed and breed and has become a problem for anglers and fish farm owners.

Its pose of hanging out its wings was thought to be to dry them off; others now think it aids digestion of fish.

Unlike the heron which visit the Moat, mainly early morning, which angles for fish from the surface, the cormorant dives down and collects its quarry.

This large water bird has a long neck, giving it something of a primitive, reptilian appearance. Adults are black with a bluish or green sheen. At the base of the bill is an area of bare, yellow skin surrounded by white. During the breeding season there is a white patch on the thigh, The name cormorant is derived from the Latin 'corvus marinus', which means 'sea crow'.

The cormorant has special feathers, which allow the water to penetrate, enabling the bird to swim well under water. After fishing, cormorants stand in a characteristic pose, with wings out and neck extended This was thought to be to dry their wings, but is now considered to help digestion.

Last Updated: 17th-May-2007 16:22 Print
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