Saturday, 15 August 2009

European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)

OTHER NAMES: Shag, Green Shag, Common Shag, Green Cormorant
Latin Etymology: Phalacrocorax ("cormorant ; bald raven") aristotelis (name for Aristotle)
                             Four European Shag (subspecies P. a. aristotelison The Farne Islands, Northumbria - July 2009

Featured Subspecies: Phalacrocorax aristotelis aristotelis
Weight: 1.75-2.25kg
Length: 68-78cm
Wingspan: 95-110cm
UK GREEN LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Unlike its relation the Great Cormorant, the Shag is very much a coastal bird - and can be best sighted along Western and Northern coasts. While at a distance it can be difficult to distinguish it from Great Cormorants by general impression, the main difference is the darker green tinged colouration and lack of any white upon it, plus, when visible, the crest which Great Cormorants lack. For best views, I'd suggest the Farne Islands as you can get some truly close up views of the birds nesting right next to the path, but you can get good views from clifftops in good light on many suitable coastlines.

Related Species: 
Order: Suliformes
Family: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Phalacrocorax
Subspecies: P. a. aristotelis, P. a. desmarestii, P. a. riggenbachi

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Locally common breeding species (27,000 pairs) and locally common Winter Migrant (110,000 birds)
 - Birds seen in their Summer territories at Trevose Head and visibly breeding on the Farne Islands.

Further Notes: Arkive, BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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