Contracaecum sp. nematodes are important parasites of fish eating birds that can cause animal health problems. In the present study, specimens of Contracaecum rudolphii sensu lato, from the great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis from Sardinia, were characterized based on morphological and molecular data. The morphological analysis allowed to identify all the fourth stage larvae (n = 1918) as Contracaecum sp., and adults, male (n = 5845) and female (n = 8312), as C. rudolphii sensu lato. Population genetics and phylogenetic relationships were inferred based on mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Multiple sequence alignment of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer showed the coexistence of C. rudolphii A (n = 157), C. rudolphii B (n = 22) and a rare heterozygote of these species. Moreover, mitochondrial markers, namely NADH dehydrogenase subunits I (nad1), cytochrome c oxidase subunit (cox1 and cox2) and small subunit of rRNA (rrnS), showed that the studied C. rudolphii A populations had undergone bottleneck, or founder effect event, subsequent to a rapid population growth and expansion. The observed heterozygote is with a mitochondrial pattern of C. rudolphii B. Although, both Contracaecum species showed high genetic diversity, no genetic structure between localities was detected. Phylogenetic reconstructions supported the paraphyly of the avian Contracaecum species including C. ogmorhini (parasite of otariids).