Why do Double-Crested Cormorants spend more time drying their wings than other water birds?

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Research has shown that, unlike other water birds, Cormorants’ outer feathers are designed (“morphologically adapted”) to absorb water and thereby repel air bubbles. This adaptation significantly reduces the buoyancy obstacle that diving birds have and allows Cormorants to dive deeper and swim faster underwater than other diving birds.

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Cormorants are our most successful fishing birds, but their feathers get wetter than those of other water birds and need to be warmed and air-blown. Cormorants’ crackled blue eyes also contribute to their fishing successes – the eyes are adapted to allow the birds to see better within dark waters. See also the image in the first Comment space.

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(Brooklin, Maine)