The genusPhalacrocorax was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) as the type species.Phalacrocorax is the Latin word for a “cormorant”.
Formerly, many other species of cormorant were classified in Phalacrocorax, but most of these have been split out into different genera. A 2014 study found Phalacrocrax to be the sister genus to Urile, which are thought to have split from each other between 8.9 – 10.3 million years ago.
A molecular phylogenetic study published in 2014 found that the genus Phalacrocorax contains 12 species. This taxonomy was adopted by the IUCN Red List and BirdLife International, and later by the IOC.
- Bank cormorant or Wahlberg’s cormorant, Phalacrocorax neglectus
- Socotra cormorant, Phalacrocorax nigrogularis
- Pitt shag or Featherstone’s shag, Phalacrocorax featherstoni
- Spotted shag, Phalacrocorax punctatus
- Black-faced cormorant, Phalacrocorax fuscescens
- Australian pied cormorant or yellow-faced cormorant, Phalacrocorax varius
- Little black cormorant, Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
- Indian cormorant, Phalacrocorax fuscicollis
- Cape cormorant, Phalacrocorax capensis
- Japanese cormorant or Temminck’s cormorant, Phalacrocorax capillatus
- White-breasted cormorant, Phalacrocorax lucidus
- Great cormorant or black shag, Phalacrocorax carbo