The first recorded sighting of the Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) at the Bird Sanctuary area of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) in Zamboanga City last January 6, 2022 was confirmed by the Philippine Birds Rarities Committee on April 18, 2022.

The Little Black Cormorant also known as the Little Black Shag is listed as least concern by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it is native to countries such as Australia, Indonesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste.

According to Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Technical Services Chief Michael dela Cruz that with this confirmation the Little Black Cormorant is now a recorded first sighting in Zamboanga City and the first record for our country.

The sighting happened during the Annual Waterbird Census (AWC) conducted by personnel from the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Zamboanga City at the Bird Sanctuary area of the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST) on January 6, 2022.

“Although the picture taken by the team is a little bit hazy, the bird’s identity was confirmed by Mr. Desmond Allen, a renowned bird specialist based in London and a member of the Philippine Birds Rarities Committee, ” Dela Cruz said.

The Philippine Birds Rarities Committee is formerly a part of the records committee of the Wild Birds Club of the Philippines. They maintain a list of birds that they think should be verified by their committee. These are all birds that have been recorded fewer than 20 times in the country, as well as birds that are scarce and hard to identify correctly. They are bird experts mostly based in the Philippines, and comprise of Arne Jensen, Desmond Allen (UK-based), Robert Hutchinson (UK based), Christian Perez and Adri Constantino.

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