• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Pied Cormorant - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies P.v. hypoleucos
Photo © by peterday
Darwin, Australia, May 2015

Alternative Name: Pied Shag

Phalacrocorax varius


Subspecies P.v. varius
Photo © by peterday
North Island, New Zealand, October 2023

81 cm., 2 kg
Black above, face from above eye and all underparts white except for black thighs, long grey hooked bill, yellow and orange face, eye-ring blue, feet black.


Australasia: found in
Papua New Guinea, Australia: New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, New Zealand, Melanesia.

The Pied Cormorant is a protected species and is increasing dramatically in numbers in New Zealand's coastal waters.

Photo by jimmclean
Centennial Park, Sydney, Australia, February 2005



  • P. v. hypoleucos:
  • P. v. varius:


Marine and inland waters, including billabongs, deep and open swamps, and rivers.
P.v.varius breeds throughout New Zealand with colonies in macrocarpa and pohutakawa trees being a distinctive feature of Northern New Zealand’s coastal environment. Despite being almost an entirely coastal feeding species, Pied Cormorants nest inland at Kaikoura at Lake Rotorua.


Pied Cormorants, P.v.varius, are a coastal species and rarely venture more than a kilometre or so offshore. They are a social species and groups of birds can be seen resting on beaches, although they are generally a solitary species when feeding.


Feeds on coastal fish such as mullet and flounders and also paddle crabs. Pied Cormorants dive below the surface to feed, diving down to depths of 20 metres.


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Avibase
  3. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1