There are three sub species of the little shag, melanoleucas which breeds in Australia, Palau, Indonesia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and Solomon Islands, except Renell Island, where brevicauda is endemic. brevirostris breeds in New Zealand only.
It was first described by Vieillot in 1817 from specimens in New South Wales and was collected at the Bay of Islands in New Zealand by the naturalists of the Erebus and Terror Expedition in 1841.
Members of the shag family belong to three groups, based on the colour of their feet: black, yellow or pink. Outside New Zealand, the black-footed shags are better known as cormorants. Pink-footed shags belong to the Leucocarbo genus. They are part of a group of cold-water shags found on islands in the Southern Ocean, on the Antarctic Peninsula and the south coasts of Australia and South America. They all feed at sea. The six New Zealand species are found nowhere else. They nest on rock rather than in trees, which are absent in many of their habitats.
Other common names: —
Little pied cormorant.
56 cm., 700 g., smallest shag, variable plumage from all black to pied, short stubby bills, yellow in adults, dark in juveniles, feet black, yellow facial skin.
Where to find: —
Widespread and common throughout New Zealand.
Illustration description: —
Gould, John, Birds of Australia, 1840-48
Browinowski, Baron G.J., Birds of Australia, 1887 - 1891.
Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.
Oliver, W.R.B. New Zealand Birds, 1955.
Page date & version: —
Tuesday, 27 May 2014; ver2009v1