| Western Isles of Scotland
Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Shag
Adult shag (courtship) displaying raised crest at
front of crown - cormorant has no crest
(European Shag, Common Shag, Scarf, Scarfie, Tappo, Green Cormorant)
Photograph © Anna Woodgate
Rodel - Isle of Harris - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
14th April, 2007
Our Cormorant and Shag photographs :
- Shag (European Shag, Common Shag, Scarf, Scarfie, Tappo, Green Cormorant)
- Phalacrocorax aristotelis
- UK: AMBER LIST. 27,477 pairs summer. 100-150,000 birds winter (RSPB)
- UK: Resident breeder, winter visitor
- WI: Fairly common resident breeder (100-999 breeding pairs) and fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers)
- Breeding: Rocky coasts on rocky ledges, crevices, small caves. Nest is a pile of seaweed or twigs glued with guano. From late Feb - May. Three eggs. Chicks have no down - rely on parents for warmth - up to two mnths. Fledging early June - late August. W & S Europe, SW Asia, N Africa.
- Winters: Most stay within 100-200km of breeding grounds, except for northernmost birds
- Medium-large (68-78 cm length) - goose-sized, black, long-necked bird similar to cormorant but smaller, slimmer & has peak at forehead. (Cormorant head peaks at hind-crown) Breeding adult has dark glossy green plumage & crest on front of head.
Juvenile bill yellowish, plumage bronze-brown inc below. Feet yellowish (juvenile cormorant's feet are dark).
- Diet: Feeds mostly on the sea-bottom usually by diving from surface. Deepest diving cormorant 20- 45 seconds (to 45metres). Mostly sand eels, fish, occasionally crustaceans, molluscs.
- Max recorded age 30yrs 6mths
- Listen to a shag (RSPB site)
- Similar birds: Cormorant
The shag is a species of Cormorant The name comes from the Gaelic word for tufted, a reference to the crest they have in breeding plumage.
Shag are the deepest diving cormorants, they feed on the se bottom at a depth of up to 45 metres, in order to give extra power to that dive, they jump up out of the water first.
The Shag is more coastal than the Greater Cormorant which may be found on inland sites.
50% of the entire UK breeding population is found at only 10 sites, this is why it is an amber list species. Shag are also approximately 4 times more abundant than the Greater Cormorant.
Shag records in the Western Isles
Fairly common resident breeder (100-999 breeding pairs) and fairly common passage (occurs in small numbers)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)
On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Shag is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.
(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)
Other local bird photographs
Sources of information for the bird sightings section
Debbie's online photo album
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