The Socotra cormorant, a rare bird that nests in large numbers on offshore islands in the UAE, is to be the subject of a study by the Ministry of Environment and Water.
The study is being carried by scientists from UAE University at a cost of Dh500,000. It is already in its first month and will be completed in the beginning of 2014. It will focus on the feeding patterns of the rare birds, which are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The breeding population has been estimated at 110,000 pairs, spread across the Gulf, Eritrea and Somalia. About a third of the birds breed on offshore islands in the UAE, mostly in Abu Dhabi waters. The birds live in colonies of several thousand and feed on fish.
The study is part of efforts to protect the Socotra Cormorant, which is under pressure due to the destruction of its habitat and marine pollution.