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..

Pied Shag

Scientific name:

 Phalacrocorax varius varius

Maori Name:




Conservation status:

 Threatened, Nationally vulnerable

Mainland status:

 Widespread in northern sheltered regions


 81cm, 2kg 


 20+ years


 All year



This large shag is glossy black above and has black thighs and feet. The face from above the eye and the under parts is white. The bill is long and grey with pink below the bill. There is a patch of buff-yellow bare skin in front of the green eye which is surrounded by a blue eye-ring. The Pied Shag is silent except when nesting when the bird makes guttural croaks and gurgling sounds.

Diet is mainly live fish – flounder, mullet, perch, smelt and eels.

Pied shags usually nest in small colonies in cliff-side trees and can breed all year round, but laying peaks in July–October and January–March. The nest is usually a large platform 0.5m across built of sticks and seaweed. The clutch of 3–4 pale bluish-green eggs is incubated for 25–33 days. The chicks fledge at 47–60 days old and are fed by their parents for up to 11 weeks after fledging.

Pied shags breed in small numbers on Tiritir Matangi and are seen frequently round the coast. The photo below shows a large chick being fed at its nest on the Island.

Learn more about the pied shag at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Dr Kerry Rodgers © (above right) and John Stewart © (below).

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.