Imperial shag

Species profile

Name: the imperial shag or cormorant (Leucocarbo atriceps) is a black and white species of cormorant. They are part of a larger group of cormorants called blue-eyed shags of which there are 15 species.

Appearance: imperial shags have glossy black feathers with white stomachs and necks. They have a distinctive ring of blue around their eyes and pink legs and feet.

Size: they measure around 70 cm long and weigh 2.5 kg.

Diet: they mainly feed on fish which they catch through diving – reaching depths of up to 25 metres.

Did you know: imperial shags live in colonies. These colonies are usually quite small but can reach up into the hundreds. They often share their space with other seabirds such as penguins and albatross. They stay with their mates for life and usually lay around five eggs. Their nests are made of seaweed and grass and held together by mud and droppings.

Location: they are found in southern South America, primarily in rocky coastal regions, but also in large, inland lakes. 

Where to see imperial shags

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see imperial shags in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
Tierra del Fuego
Argentina and Chile
very good

Photo credit: Paul Balfe under a Creative Commons licence from Flickr

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