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Stewart Island Shag - BirdForum Opus

Pied morph "Otago Shag"
Photo © by flossiepip
Oamaru, South Island, New Zealand, 10 March 2016

Alternative names: Bronzed Shag; Bronze Shag; Stewart Shag

Leucocarbo chalconotus

Phalacrocorax chalconotus
Includes: Otago Shag and Foveaux Shag


65–71 cm (25½-28 in)
A dimorphic species with short wings

  • Bronze Morph
  • Brownish-black overall plumage
  • Green sheen on the wings
  • Blue sheen on the body
Bronze morph "Otago Shag" adult and juvenile
Photo © by martinuk
Taiaroa Head, near Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand, 23 January 2010
  • Pied Morph
  • Dark head
  • White belly and throat
  • Black wings with white patches
  • Pink feet


Coasts of Otago, Stewart and South islands (New Zealand).


Formerly placed in genus Phalacrocorax.


Two subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • L. c. chalconotus
    • New Zealand (southeastern coast of the South Island)
  • L. c. stewarti
    • New Zealand (Stewart Island and the Foveaux Strait)

Gill and Donsker[8] now split this species into two, Otago Shag (Leucocarbo chalconotus) and Foveaux Shag (Leucocarbo stewarti).


Pied morph "Otago Shag" in flight
Photo © by
Peter Ericsson
Oamaru, New Zealand, 20 October 2006

Waters around coasts and in harbours. Breeds on rocky islands and sea cliffs.



The nests are cups built from seaweed, grass and twigs, stuck together with guano, on top of a pedestal. They nest in small and large colonies.


The diet consists mostly of fish, such as flounder and bullies. They will also eat crabs, shrimps and polychaete worms. They hunt in groups.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Orta, J., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2017). Stewart Shag (Phalacrocorax chalconotus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/52644 on 2 February 2017).
  4. McKinlay, B. 2013. Stewart Island shag. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz
  5. Wikipedia contributors. (2017, March 31). Stewart shag. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:42, October 28, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Stewart_shag&oldid=773119819
  6. Rawlence, Nicolas J.; Scofield, R. Paul; Spencer, Hamish G.; Lalas, Chris; Easton, Luke J.; Tennyson, Alan J.D.; Adams, Mark; Pasquet, Eric; Fraser, Cody; Waters, Jonathan M.; Kennedy, Martyn (2016). "Genetic and morphological evidence for two species of Leucocarbo shag (Aves, Pelecaniformes, Phalacrocoracidae) from southern South Island of New Zealand". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Retrieved 2 Feb 2017. PDF
  7. Christidis et al. 2018. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World, version 4.1 (Downloadable checklist). Accessed from https://www.howardandmoore.org.
  8. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2020. IOC World Bird List (v 10.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.10.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/

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