We describe the isolation and characterization of eight microsatellite loci from the double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). Genetic variability was assessed using 60 individuals from three populations. All loci were variable with the number of alleles ranging from two to 17 per locus, and observed heterozygosity varying from 0.05 to 0.89. No loci showed signs of linkage disequilibrium and all loci conformed to Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium frequencies. Further, all loci amplified and were polymorphic in two related Phalacrocorax species. These loci should prove useful for population genetic studies of the double-crested cormorant and other pelecaniform species.