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Imperial Cormorant

Imperial Cormorant
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-12-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1Ds MkII, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): The Wildlife, Plants and Scenery of Chile [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-10-05 13:34
Viewed: 5991
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this shot of from - yes you guessed it! a boat, with my 300mm 2.8 + 1.4x converter. It was hand held.

The Imperial Shag, Phalacrocorax atriceps, is a black and white cormorant native to many subantarctic islands, the Antarctic Peninsula and southern South America, primarily in rocky coastal regions, but locally also at large inland lakes. It is sometimes placed in the genus Leucocarbo instead. It is also known as the Blue-eyed Shag and by many other names, and is one of a larger group of cormorants called blue-eyed shags. The taxonomy is very complex, and several subspecies are often considered separate species instead.

The taxonomy is very complex and species-limits within this group remain unresolved. The following are usually considered part of this group:

Imperial Shag, Phalacrocorax (atriceps) atriceps, from coastal southern Chile and Argentina.

King Cormorant/White-bellied Shag, Phalacrocorax (atriceps) albiventer*, from the Falkland Islands, and locally in southern Argentina and Chile.

Antarctic Shag, Phalacrocorax (atriceps) bransfieldensis, from the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands.

South Georgia Shag, Phalacrocorax (atriceps) georgianus, from the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and South Orkney Islands.

Heard Shag, Phalacrocorax (atriceps) nivalis, from Heard Island.

Crozet Shag, Phalacrocorax (atriceps) melanogenis, from the Crozet and Prince Edward Islands.

Macquarie Shag, Phalacrocorax (atriceps) purpurascens, from Macquarie Island.

The Imperial Shag has a total length of 70-78 cm (28-31 in) and weighs 1.8-3.5 kg (4-8 lbs), with males averaging larger than females. It is endowed with glossy black feathers covering most of its body, with a white belly and neck. It possesses a distinctive ring of blue skin around its eyes, an orange-yellow nasal knob, pinkish legs and feet, and an erectile black crest. During the non-breeding season, adults lack the crest, have a duller facial area, and less/no white to the back/wings.

The subspecies vary primarily in the amount of white on the cheeks/ear-coverts, wing-coverts and back. Most taxa have white cheeks and ear-coverts, but these are black in albiventer, purpurascens and melanogenis.[3] Chicks are uniform brownish, and immatures are brownish and white (instead of black and white), have dull facial skin, and lack the orange-yellow nasal knob and blue eye-ring.

siggi, boreocypriensis, ferranjlloret, CeltickRanger, ramthakur, sandpiper2, roges, jconceicao, horia, tcr, anel has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-10-05 13:37]

Hello James.
An outstanding shot on this Cormorant. The light quality is nice and soft. Beautiful colors and sharp detail in the plumage. Well controled DOF has a nice OOF backround.
Best regards Siggi

Hi Bro James,

What a lovely pose of this beautiful cormorant you captured.
Amazing shot in all around. i also liked her bluish eyes so much.
Have a nice night!


Hello James,
Me gusta especialmente ésta toma, estoy subiendo algunas fotos de Chile y también de la región de los Lagos. Muy buena captura. Very well done.
TFS. Ferran.

great portrait, TFS Ori

hello James

excellent photo of this black and white cormorant,
fine forntal POV and appropriate framing, fine focus,
you managed your camera superbly to obtain details
of the white plumage, TFS


This is, indeed, a very different Cormorant, James.
The bird looks very elegant in that relaxed posture atop a black rock that makes a fine contrast with its white front.
It is difficult to believe you took such a sharp and crisp image from a boat.
Thanks and hope you are keeping well.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-10-05 22:26]

Hello James,
A very good shot taken from a boat, the shutter speed sufficient to achieve excellent sharpness and the DOF is just right. This makes a fine portrait of the Imperial Cormorant taken from a frontal POV but I might have left more space on the left as it is looking that direction, but that is a minor point.
Thanks and all the best,

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-10-05 23:27]

Hello James
Nice capture with great details and clear BG. Natural colors too.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-10-06 2:57]

Hello James,
Great photo of this Cormorant. The light and colours are very beautiful. Not overexposed in the white. Excellent sharpness and details, frontal POV, OOF BG, DOF and composition.

Hi James

A fine shot of this blue-eyed cormorant. The white's are perfectly exposed. good composition and sharpness.


very nice scene for a wonderufl specie.
Really well done. Very nice bokeh too
great shot
Classe: Aves
Ordine: Passeriformes
Famiglia: Corvidae
Genere: Nucifraga

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-10-06 7:26]

Hi James,

Splendid capture with some beautiful colors. Excellent made.
Have a pleasant day,

Hello James,

Fantastic capture.
Colours,light and definition are splendid.
Good composition.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2009-10-07 1:46]

Hi James

I see you've been pretty busy around here while i was away :) Some really great shots from you (as always) but this one really stood out in my eyes.
The natural contrast here between the bird and the BG is terrific and it makes the subject stand out so well, even from the thumbnail. Further more, the pose in which you captured it is lovely as well as delicate (at least that what's it looks to me) - with that one leg in front :)
The shallow DOF works again superbly while the exposure (although loosing a bit from the highlights) retains that great color in its eyes...what a treat!
That for posting this photo of this new species, too - a pleasure to read about it as well.

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • tcr Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 158 W: 8 N: 538] (3384)
  • [2009-10-07 17:30]

Hello James.
Great timing and pose.
Pleasant composition and out of focus background.
Greetings and TFS.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-10-08 5:43]

Hello James,
This Cormorant is a beauty with its white belly and blue eyes! And how elegant its pose! It must be a female..
Excellent bird-picture, well composed and with fine colors.
Very well done.
Have a nice evening
Kind regards

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