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..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

Extra Dawn Chorus Trip

Date posted: 20-Oct-2016

Stop Press: Extra Dawn Chorus trip now scheduled for Thursday 27th October 2016. ..

2016 AGM

Date posted: 06-Sep-2016

The 2016 AGM was held at the Kohia Centre at 7:30 pm on Monday 19th September. Click here (/..

Spotted Shag

Scientific name:

 Stictobarbo punctatus punctatus

Maori Name:

 Parekareka

 

 

Conservation status:

 Endemic, not threatened

Mainland status:

 Widespread and common but patchy distribution in  the N.I.

Size:

 70cm, 1200g 

Lifespan:

 10+ years

Breeding:

 All year

Diet:

 Small fish and marine invertebrates


This slender grey shag has small black spots on the back and wings and a black rump, tail and thighs. The brown bill is long and slender and the feet are yellow. During the breeding season the bird sports a broad white stripe from above the eye, down the sides of the neck and sparse white streaks (filo plumes) on the neck and thighs. A conspicuous double head crest is curled forward and the facial skin is green. The non–breeding adult lacks crests and has an obscure white stripe on the neck, yellow facial skin and paler underparts. 

Silent away from their colonies, displaying males make noisy grunts and guttural sounds, but females remain silent.

Small fish (ahuru, red cod, gudgeon, bullies, sprat, squid) and marine invertebrates make up their diet.

The Spotted Shag nests in colonies of 10–700 pairs on coastal cliff edges or rocky islets. The breeding season is variable from year to year and in different parts of New Zealand. The main breeding areas are around the coasts of the South Island. In the Hauraki Gulf peaks of laying are in March, August and December. The nest is a platform about 0.6m across made of seaweed, grass and iceplants. The clutch of 1–4 pale blue eggs is incubated for 28–35 days. The chicks fledge at 57–71 days.

Although they nest in the Hauraki Gulf in small numbers, spotted shags are not often seen around Tiritiri Matangi.

Learn more about the spotted 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.