From The National:

The Socotra cormorant is a species of cormorant threatened by coastal development in the Middle East. They were once native to the Abu Dhabi islands, but have since found a new home on the small island off of Umm Al Quwain (the least populous of the UAE’s seven emirates).

Overexploited fisheries in the Arabian Gulf and loss of habitat throughout the emirates threaten the birds, often described as nature’s teenagers – lazy, hungry and reluctant to leave home.

Their global population has declined by 60 per cent due to general degradation of breeding sites but also because of the oil spill during the Gulf War in 1991.

Also in 2011, between 2,000 and 3,000 birds were killed by red foxes and feral cats.

According to current data, the species is expected to be extinct in 20 years. 900 adult Socotra cormorants die every year and there are some reports of adults eating chicks in place of their usual food. But the population’s numbers have stabilized and it’s hoped their new home will be better protected.

While the northern population breeds off the Persian Gulf coast, the southern population can be found in smaller numbers off the Arabian Sea coast of Oman and the Gulf of Aden off Yemen.

Socotra cormorant, Plakacrocorax nigrogularis, Colony, Hawar Is, Bahrain

Map from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/socotra-cormorant-phalacrocorax-nigrogularis.

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