These small cormorants have black feathers on their crown, down their back and along their wings, with white feathers on the rest of the head, breast and abdomen. Young birds are duller in colour than the adults.
These birds do not migrate. However, they will move with the availability of water and often travel to coastal regions in times of drought. In central Australia the little pied cormorant continually moves from place to place.
Little pied cormorants are believed to breed all year round, but most actively breed in October and November. They form small colonies with other water birds, building a nest of sticks lined with leaves in trees and bushes. When the chicks hatch, they are bald, but grow black down soon after hatching.
They fish in fresh and salt water by diving beneath the surface. These birds eat fish, invertebrates and aquatic insects, but will also take frogs and tadpoles. They will also eat crayfish, removing the claws by shaking them. In Australia, their diet is mostly fish.
These cormorants are classed as Least Concern as they are widespread and have a large distribution. The loss of wetlands has reduced their numbers, but the construction of reservoirs has provided alternative habitats for them and so this threat is minimal. In parts of Australia campaigns to remove invasive fish species has reduced the availability of their prey and may cause a decline in their population size.