Sunday 19 May
Auckland Islands shag (Phalacrocorax colensoi)
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Auckland Islands shag fact file
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Auckland Islands shag description
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. Top
- Previously domesticated animals that have returned to a wild state.
- The act of incubating eggs; that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
- Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones), echinoderms, and others.
IUCN Red List (September, 2006)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1992) Handbook of the Birds of the World – Ostrich to Ducks. Vol. 1. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand (October, 2006)
BirdLife International (October, 2006)
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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).Top
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).Top
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).Top
Auckland Islands shag status
Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
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).Top
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).Top
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For more information on the Auckland Islands shag, see:
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