Double-crested Cormorant’s Quick Bite

I recently had the chance to visit Charleston Lake in Charleston, Arkansas to capture some bird photographs. One morning, a group of Double-crested Cormorants arrived at the lake and started hunting for shad near the dam. Although these birds usually swallow their catch quickly, I managed to take some successful shots of them. After eating, they usually leave the area and fly north, possibly heading towards the Arkansas River located just a few miles north of the lake.

Double-crested Cormorant's Quick Bite

Double-crested Cormorant’s Quick Bite

To take pictures, I positioned myself near the lake’s edge and used my pickup truck as a makeshift blind. I placed my camera and lens on a bean bag on the open window to stabilize it during photography.

Double-crested Cormorant's Catch

Double-crested Cormorant’s Catch

Here are some unique facts about the Double-crested Cormorant:

  • They are prehistoric-looking, matte-black fishing birds with yellow-orange facial skin.
  • These colonial waterbirds seek aquatic bodies large enough to support their mostly fish diet.
  • They may roost and form breeding colonies on smaller lagoons or ponds, and then fly up to 40 miles to a feeding area.
  • They are very adaptable and can be found in diverse aquatic habitats, ranging from rocky northern coasts to mangrove swamps, lagoons, estuaries, rivers, small inland ponds, and large reservoirs.
  • They are also the only cormorant that nests in the Western interior, including in rookeries on islands in Colorado lakes.
  • The double-crested cormorant makes a bulky nest of sticks and other materials. They often pick up junk such as rope, deflated balloons, fishnets, and plastic debris to incorporate into the nest. Parts of dead birds are commonly used too.
  • Their diet mainly consists of a wide variety of fish. They have impressive fishing techniques, diving and chasing fish underwater, and they eat more than 250 species of fish. They also supplement their diet with insects, crustaceans, and amphibians.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R7
  • Lens: Canon RF 800 mm F11 IS STM


  • Location: Charleston City Lake (Arkansas)
  • Date and Time Taken: February 12, 2023 (09:59 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f11 (Fixed)
  • Shutter speed: 1/2500
  • ISO: 1600 (Auto)
  • Focal Length: 800 mm (Fixed)

Here are a few more photos I have taken over the years of the Double-crested Cormorant catching Shad: Double-crested Cormorant Came Up With Shad and Double-crested Cormorant With A Shad


About the Author:

Steve Creek is a wildlife photographer living in Arkansas who is passionate about capturing images that reveal the beauty and behaviors of animals in nature. Known for his exceptional skills in photographing species like birds, deer, and foxes, Creek spends extensive time observing his subjects in order to capture the perfect moment. Through his nationally published photographs and informative blog, Creek advocates for wildlife conservation by increasing awareness of the importance of protecting natural resources. Overall, Creek is a talented photographer dedicated to portraying the intricacies of the natural world.