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Pied Shag


Pied shag (Phalacrocorax varius)

 - Karuhiruhi

Pied Shag
Almost as large as the black shag. Distinctively coloured, large black and white coloured seabird. Pied shags have a large and distinctive hooked beak. Breeds throughout New Zealand with colonies in macrocarpa and pohutakawa trees being a distinctive feature of northern New Zealand’s coastal environment. Like the black shag, pied shags were persecuted by fisherman, being seen as competitors for fish with fisherman.

Nowadays the pied shag is a protected species and the species is increasing dramatically in numbers in New Zealand's coastal waters. Feeds on coastal fish such as mullet and flounders and also paddle crabs. Pied shags dive below the surface to feed, diving down to depths of 20 metres.

Pied Shags are a distinctive and common bird along the Kaikoura Coast. They can be seen drying their wings on rocks or swimming around the inshore waters. Despite being almost an entirely coastal feeding species, pied shags nest inland at Kaikoura at Lake Rotorua. Pied shags are a social species and groups of birds can be seen resting on beaches, although they are generally a solitary species when feeding. Pied shags are a coastal species and rarely venture more than a kilometre or so offshore.