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Little Pied Cormorant - BirdForum Opus

Alternative Names: Little Shag (New Zealand)

Photo by Tannin
Victoria, Australia, July 2003
Microcarbo melanoleucos


Subspecies brevirostris, White-throated phase
Photo by craigwilson
Otago Harbour, New Zealand, April 2017

55–65 cm (21¾-26 in)

  • Black upperparts
  • White underparts
  • Short yellow bill
  • Long tail
  • Black feet

Juvenile has all black plumage


Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand.


Formerly placed in genus Phalacrocorax.


Subspecies brevirostris, Pied phase
Photo by craigwilson
Otago Harbour, New Zealand, April 2017

There are 3 subspecies[1]:

  • M. m. melanoleucos:
  • M. m. brevicauda:
  • Rennel Island (Solomon Islands)
  • M. m. brevirostris:


Lakes, rivers, swamps etc. They prefer fresh water, but are often seen on the coast too.



Diet consists of aquatic animals, from insects to fish including freshwater crayfish, shrimps and prawns.


The nest is a flat platform of sticks, lined with green leaves and is usually placed in a tree. Both adults share in egg incubation and care of the 3-4 young.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BirdsinBackyards
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved March 2017)

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