Pelagic Cormorant Urile pelagicus


Taxonomic note
Following Kennedy and Spencer (2014) the genus Phalacrocorax has been divided into six genera, with P. penicillatus, P. pelagicus and P. urile moved into Urile (HBW and BirdLife International 2018).

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International. 2018. Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International digital checklist of the birds of the world. Version 3. Available at:
Kennedy, M. & Spencer, H. 2014. Classification of the Cormorants of the World. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution. 79: 249-257.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 24,600,000
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 34,100,000
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals unknown not applicable not applicable 0
Population trend Decreasing suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 8.3 - - -

Population justification: There is no global population estimate. However, national population estimates include: <100 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; c.100-10,000 breeding pairs, c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in Korea; c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs, c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration and c.1,000-10,000 wintering individuals in Japan and c.10,000-100,000 breeding pairs and c.1,000-10,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Trend justification: The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations may be stable and others have unknown trends (Delany and Scott 2006). In North America, this species has had stable population trends over the last 40 years (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Canada N Extant Yes Yes
China (mainland) N Extant
Japan N Extant
Mexico N Extant
North Korea N Extant Yes
Russia N Extant
Russia (Asian) N Extant
South Korea N Extant
Taiwan, China N Extant
USA N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Russia (Asian) Verkhoturova Island
Russia (Asian) Iony Island
Russia (Asian) Getlyangen lagoon and Khalyustkin cape
Russia (Asian) Senyavina Strait
Russia (Asian) Sireniki shore of Chukotka
Russia (Asian) Karaginskiy Island
Russia (Asian) Utashud Island
Canada Langara Island
Canada Kerouard and St. James Islands
Canada Scott Island Group
Canada Hippa Island
Canada Anthony Island
Canada Tian Bay/Port Louis Area
Canada Englefield Bay Islands
Canada White Islets and Wilson Creek
Canada Jervis Inlet/McRae Islet
Canada Chain Islets and Great Chain Islet
Canada Snake Island
Canada Baynes Sound
Canada Lambert Channel/Hornby Island Waters
Canada Mitlenatch Island
Canada Barkley Sound
Canada Kyuquot Channel Islets
Canada Checleset Bay
Canada Solander Island and Brooks Bay
Canada Gillam Island
Canada Smith Sound Islets
Canada Moore and Byers Islands and Banks
Canada Kunghit Island and Luxana Bay
Canada Ramsay and Northern Juan Perez Sound Islands
Canada Laskeek Bay
Canada Lawn Point
Canada Major Brown Rock
USA Attu Island
USA Walrus Islands
USA Amchitka Island Colony
USA Blanco Reef
USA St Matthew and Hall Islands
USA St Lawrence Island
USA Fenimore Pass & Atka Island Marine
USA Glacier Bay & Icy Strait
USA Glacier Bay Outer Coast Marine
USA Kachemak Bay
USA Kenai Fjords
USA Prince William Sound
USA Southwestern Kenai Peninsula Marine
USA St Matthew Island Marine
USA Agattu Island Colonies
USA Amagat & Umga Island Colonies
USA Amchitka Island Colony
USA Attu Island Colony
USA Barren Islands Colonies
USA Crooked Island Colony
USA Hegemeister Island Colonies
USA Kiska Island Colonies
USA Middleton Island Colony
USA Semichi Islands Colonies
USA Southwest Cape Colonies
USA St Matthew & Hall Islands Colonies
USA Castle Rock
USA False Cape Rock
USA False Klamath
USA Farallon Islands
USA Point Reyes - Outer
USA Trinidad Complex
Russia (Asian) Commander Islands
Russia (Asian) Avachinskaya Bay and Starichkov Island

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Caves and Subterranean Habitats (non-aquatic) Caves marginal breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud major non-breeding
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 50 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Other impacts Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Unknown Unknown Unknown
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Problematic native species/diseases - Corvus corax Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Reduced reproductive success

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Urile pelagicus. Downloaded from on 23/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/03/2023.