European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)


The word shag coming from an old meaning for shag (a thick, tangled hairstyle or mass of hair) and relates to its tufted head plumage. They are smaller than the cormorant, have a greenish tint to the plumage, thinner bill and a crest. Just like the cormorant they can be seen with their wings spread out to dry. The shag is often seen further offshore than the cormorant.

Average Length: 72 cm
Average Weight: 1.9 kg
Wingspan: 98 cm
Diet: Fish
Est. population around Iceland: ~ 7,000 pairs
Residence Period: All year round
Nesting habitat: Cliffs or trees
Nesting Period: Mid April to Early July
Clutch size (No eggs): 3
Incubation time (days): 30-31
Fledging time: 48-58
Typical life span (years): 12
Age at first breeding (years): 4
IUCN world Status: Least concern
Major Threats: Climate change, predation, hunted to utilize and reduce numbers around fish farms, pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, viruses
Other Names: Toppskarfur, Topskarv, Karimetso, Krähenscharbe, Marangone dal ciuffo, Kormoran czubaty, Kuifallscholver, Cormoran huppé, Üstökös kárókatona, Toppskarv