Auckland Islands shag (Phalacrocorax colensoi)

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Pair of Auckland Islands shags
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Auckland Islands shag fact file

Auckland Islands shag description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPelecaniformes
FamilyPhalacrocoracidae
GenusPhalacrocorax (1)

The Auckland Islands shag is a medium-sized, black-and-white cormorant with a short black crest. The black plumage of the upperparts glitters with a metallic blue sheen and contrasts starkly with the white of the underparts and throat and pink of the legs and feet (4). The upperparts and wings may be wholly black or with some white on the wings, appearing as a bar when folded, and some males have a white patch on the back (2) (4). During courtship displays, the male barks and makes ticking sounds, while the female gives a soft purr (4).

Also known as
Auckland Island shag.
Size
Length: 63 cm (2)
Wingspan: 105 cm (2)
Weight
2 kg (3)
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Auckland Islands shag biology

The Auckland Islands shag nests in colonies, with females usually laying a clutch of three eggs between November and February, followed by an incubation period of around 28 to 32 days (2) (3). However, a brood of only two chicks is normally successfully raised (2).

This bird feeds on small fish and marine invertebrates (3) (4), and sometimes forms large feeding flocks (2).

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Auckland Islands shag range

Restricted to the Auckland Islands and surrounding waters, New Zealand, with colonies present on Auckland, Enderby, Rose, Ewing and Adams Islands (4).

See this species on Google Earth.

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Auckland Islands shag habitat

This marine bird forages both in open sea and in sheltered coastal waters, and breeds and roosts on ledges, on the tops of sea cliffs, in hollows, and also sometimes on flat ground amongst grass tussock or in the shelter of overhanging rocks, bushes or trees (2).

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Auckland Islands shag status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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Auckland Islands shag threats

Since pigs on Auckland Island destroy any colonies they can reach, colonies have been largely restricted to inaccessible sites. Before they were removed, cattle and rabbits had a similar impact on Rose and Enderby and, on Enderby, cattle have wiped out a tussock grass that was a preferred nesting material. Cats are another potential predator on Auckland Island and pose a threat to this native bird (4). Additionally, nests have sometimes been washed away by high tides and storm waves (2).

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Auckland Islands shag conservation

In 1993, feral cattle and rabbits were removed from Enderby and Rose and, in 1995, feral goats were eradicated from Auckland Island. The Auckland Island group has long been a nature reserve and, in 1998, was declared part of a World Heritage Site. In 2003, the area was further designated a Marine Reserve (4).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For more information on the Auckland Islands shag, see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Feral
Previously domesticated animals that have returned to a wild state.
Incubation
The act of incubating eggs; that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
Invertebrates
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones), echinoderms, and others.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2006)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1992) Handbook of the Birds of the World – Ostrich to Ducks. Vol. 1. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand (October, 2006)
    http://www.teara.govt.nz/EarthSeaAndSky/BirdsOfSeaAndShore/Shags/3/en
  4. BirdLife International (October, 2006)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=3692&m=0
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Image credit

Pair of Auckland Islands shags  
Pair of Auckland Islands shags

© Peter LaTourrette / birdphotography.com

birdphotography.com
1019 Loma Prieta Court
Los Altos
California
94024
United States of America
Tel: +01 (650) 961 2741
peter@birdphotography.com
http://www.birdphotography.com

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