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This is my first posting. I have read the FAQ but I may have missed some of the details about requirements for posting, etiquette, etc. Apologies if this is the case - let me know and I will amend my post as needed.

I am also a beginner birdwatcher, so apologies if my query is trivial.

Is it ok to ask help identifying a bird in Germany? It might be away from the usual territory covered by the forum.... anyway, I saw this group of unusual, large birds, on a birch by a canal in the center of Hamburg, Germany, today, Sunday, February 18, 2018 at about 1.30pm. I can give a precise address if you are interested. 

Six birds, joined by two more a couple of minutes later (I managed to catch the arrival of these last two on a short video, in which you can also hear their vocalization (unless it was from a couple of ducks nearby). Here's the linked video:

Sorry, I couldn't get any closer. The birds were on the other side of the canal, on a private backyard. I also have some still photos, but they do not add much to the video above. All the photos and videos were taken with an iPhone SE. The birds have a longish, yellow/orange beak and they have mostly black plumage, except for the second one (from top left moving down and toward the right) who had a white breast.

I waited around for about 15 minutes but no other birds arrived, nor did they seem interested in flying around or leaving their perch quickly. There seemed to be a lot of self grooming going on, resting - and letting out large amount of droppings, spray-like, directly in the canal.

Lots of people were walking around in the sun on this Sunday and the birds were attracting a lot of attention. Most people seem to agree that the birds were unusual and not normally seen around here, but no bird watchers were around, and nobody else that could help with an ID.

Thank you for reading and sharing your views.

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Hi and welcome to WhatBird! It's fine to post ID requests from anywhere and it doesn't matter how "easy " the bird may be. We were all beginners at some point.  However we have another for us for European and world birds. I'll move this there for you. The North American forum gets lots of action and posts can drop out of view quickly.

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These are actually Great Cormorants, European Shags don't have the white hip patch.  That one with the paper breast/belly is an immature. 

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6 hours ago, Patrick Graham said:

Wow, what a community! Such quick answers!

Thank you Sean C.  and  IvoryBillHope.

Thank you also @Aveschapines and @jhauser42. Let me know if I should do anything about moving the post to the European or World birds forum/thread.

 

It looks like @jhauser42 was able to move it, so you're all set! But if you like use this one next time you have a European bird; like I said before the posts often drop out of sight very quickly in the NA forum, and the world bird experts check this forum so you may get more answers faster that way.

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