A large web-footed water bird that catches fish by diving. This bird appears only in the list of unclean birds under the Mosaic Law, a list that prohibits the eating of birds most of which basically are birds of prey and carrion eaters. (Le 11:17; De 14:17) The translators of the Greek Septuagint understood the bird to be the ka·tar·raʹktes, the Greek name for cormorant, while the Latin Vulgate uses mergulus (the “diver”) to indicate the bird. The cormorant (Phalacrocorax) is quite common in Palestine, particularly along the Mediterranean Coast and also in certain inland waters such as the Sea of Galilee. The cormorant is related to birds of the pelican family. Usually long bodied and dark colored, the cormorant is swift and agile in the water, swimming under water mainly by use of its webbed feet. Its sharp, hooked beak makes it a good fisher, and from ancient times cormorants have been trained by fishermen in the Orient and parts of India to catch fish for their owners, a band being placed fairly loosely around the bird’s throat to prevent it from swallowing anything but very small fish.
[Picture on page 512]
Cormorant; a bird not to be eaten according to the Mosaic Law