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Spotted Shags

Spotted Shags
Photo Information
Copyright: Steve Reekie (LordPotty) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1381 W: 144 N: 3872] (12503)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-11-26
Categories: Birds
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of New Zealand [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-11-28 3:17
Viewed: 4066
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Spotted Shag

Stictocarbo punctatus

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Stictocarbo
Species: S. punctatus

The Spotted Shag or Parekareka (Phalacrocorax punctatus, also occasionally called the Spotted Cormorant) is an attractive species of the family Phalacrocoracidae found only in New Zealand. Originally classified as Phalacrocorax punctatus, is sufficiently different in appearance from typical members of the genus Phalacrocorax that it has in the past been placed in a separate genus, Stictocarbo, along with one other species, the similar Pitt Island Shag.

Compared with typical cormorants, the Spotted Shag is a light-coloured bird. Its back is brown. Its belly is pale blue-grey (often appearing white), and the white continues up the sides of the neck and face, but the throat and the top of the head are dark blue-green. In the mating season, it has an obvious double crest. There is little sexual dimorphism.
Spotted Shags feed at sea, often in substantial flocks, taking its prey from mid-water rather than the bottom. It is likely that pilchard and anchovy are important prey species.
Spotted Shags nest in colonies of 10-700 pairs, these colonies are generally found on the ledges of coastal cliffs or on rocky islets.
In the South Island, they are particularly readily observed around Banks Peninsula; there is a large nesting colony immediately south of the city of Christchurch. In Wellington Harbour there is a large colony on a a rocky outcrop known as "Shag Rock" just off the south-west end of Matiu/Somes Island.
On the West Coast there are several colonies along the coast north of Greymouth.

Another three of the group of shags on the riverbank at Blaketown.

Hope you like them


smitha, red45, bobcat08, gracious, rousettus, haraprasan, Roynsam, elizabeth has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To smitha: Breeding plumageLordPotty 1 11-28 06:25
To red45: The Fast ShowLordPotty 1 11-28 06:21
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-11-28 3:46]

Hey Steve!
Another great shot of these Spotted Shags but now there's two more!
I love the poses because obviously they are all staring intently at something... it adds interest to the photo.
Superb composition.
Excellent BG once again and a perfect DOF that doesn't blur it too much :)
Natural lighting and colours.
Well done mate,

Hello Steve,
Fine capture of the spotted cormorants enjoying the sun perching on a rock. Sharpness, details and exposure are perfect. Good POV and I liked the way you have captured the moment with all three of them looking intently on something .I can see a greenish lore on two of them , is it part of their breeding plumage? thanks for the picture and also for the notes.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2007-11-28 5:00]
  • [+]

Hi Steve!

I was going to write something funny but I'm too tired and sleepy :-) So...erm, very nice trio. Two headed beast meets one headed shag. Or someting :-) Niceeeeeee!

By the way - do you know BBC's The Fast Show?

Hello Steve,

This are tree Spotted Shags. Tomorrow 6 (((---: I think they see something in the water. A tasty fish? The one the right is that a youngster. He misses the green color on the beak. Fine capture of the spotted cormorants. Sharp as usual. Regards and TFS BOB

Hello Steve,
Well captured on the good pose of Shags
excellent exposure and focus with total sharpness, natural colouration and so much details
thanks for the wonderful notes
all the best to you

Hi Steve,
fine shot of these Shags. Very good detail and interesting POV and composition of them all looking the same direction.
Well done

Hi Steve
your this capture is also great. focus, composition, light, POV very nice. I like especially greenish colors around eyes. TFS,
well done

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-11-29 0:30]

Hi Steve,
Splendid shot again of these Spotted Shags enjoying the sunlight. Great expressions on thier eyes and the rippled blue waters acts as a fabulous BG and illustrates the location very well. The distinct difference in colour on their plumage is very educational. Excellent POV and composition. Kudos.

Namastay Steve,
This capture much more beautiful and well composed than the previous one. Excellent composition and excellent details on this one. Thanks a lot for sharing.


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-11-29 9:05]

Hello Steve

I alwasy find that birds like this and their ilk are often gangly and awkward looking yet have some of the most impressive eyes in the bird world.I guess each of us has to have something going for us.
The shot is well composed,and they always give me the impression they are sun worshippers or waiting for the mothership or something.
The lighting is well done and the colours are nicely saturated.
The POV and DOF are both well handled.


Hi Steve

Greta photo.
I love how these stunning sea birds seem to pop out from the photo.
Almost a 3d effect.
Great shot and a good note.
Thanks for sharing with us.



Very nice, Steve. It's good to be able to compare the two adult birds in their breeding plumage to the juvenile - and doesn't the breeding plumage look very striking.

I like the three birds in the one shot, odd numbers always work well for composition, the rock is well-placed within the frame and the water is a good background which allows the birds to stand out in the image.

Well done!


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