European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Shag with chick, Farne Islands, England, June 2003 - click for larger image

The European Shag is distributed around the coast of northern and western Europe, north Africa and the Mediterranean and into the Black Sea.

It never moves far away from the coast and compared to the Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, it prefers more sheltered nest sites.

As can be seen in photos 1 and 4, the nest consists of a base of seaweed, bracken, etc. and is lined with grasses or other finer material. The clutch can be between 1 and 6 eggs.

It is smaller than the Cormorant with a rounder head and thinner bill. It has a greenish gloss to the black and a yellow gape.

Shag, Farne Islands, England, June 2003 - click for larger image In the early part of the breeding season it has an upcurved crest as can be seen in photos 3, 5 and 7 which it loses later in the breeding season.

It feeds almost entirely on fish usually diving from the surface and often with a slight leap into the air.

Shag, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image
Shag, Farne Islands, England, June 2003 - click for larger image
Shag, Mousa, Shetland, SCotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
Shag, Mousa, Shetland, SCotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
Shag, North Rona, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
Shag, North Rona, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
Shag, North Rona, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
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