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..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

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.