Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

Little Shag

Scientific name:

 Phalacrocorax melanoleucos brevirostris

Maori Name:




Conservation status

 Naturally uncommon

Mainland status:

 Widespread (more common in Northern NZ)


 56cm, 700g 


 6+ years


 August - May


 Small fish & fresh water crayfish

Little shag - photography by Dr Kerry RodgersThis is smallest shag found in New Zealand. Plumages are highly variable ranging from all black to pied, but all have short stubby, yellow bills (adult), a brown eye and black feet. Adults have yellow facial skin and a small black crest on the forehead. Silent away from their colonies, at the nest they are noisy, making a variety of harsh croaks and whistles. 

Mainly small fish (smelt, bullies, goldfish, flounder, sole) and freshwater crayfish make up their diet.

Little Shags nest in large colonies in trees, low bushes or on ledges, usually near water. The breeding season runs from August to March with a peak in October to November. The nest is a platform of sticks and leaves about 30 cm across. Clutches contain 2–5 pale blue/green eggs, from which 1-3 chicks are usually raised. They are fed on regurgitated food.

Little shag usually feed alone, on small fish, eels, crustaceans; also frogs, tadpole and insects.

They are sometimes seen feeding around Tiritiri Matangi or resting on the rocks, and in 2013-14 they were observed, for the first time, breeding on the Island.

Find out more about little shag at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by: Dr Kerry Rodgers ©

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.