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Spotted Shag

Spotted Shag
Photo Information
Copyright: Pam Russell (coasties) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3749 W: 483 N: 8155] (28054)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-08-04
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon EF 100-400mm L IS USM, Digital RAW 200, Hoya UV 77mm
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of New Zealand [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-09-10 1:08
Viewed: 5519
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Spotted Shag or Parekareka (Phalacrocorax punctatus, also occasionally called the Spotted Cormorant) is an attractive species of the family Phalacrocoracidae found only in New Zealand. Originally classified as Phalacrocorax punctatus, is sufficiently different in appearance from typical members of the genus Phalacrocorax that it has in the past been placed in a separate genus, Stictocarbo, along with one other species, the similar Pitt Island Shag.

Compared with typical cormorants, the Spotted Shag is a light-coloured bird. Its back is brown. Its belly is pale blue-grey (often appearing white), and the white continues up the sides of the neck and face, but the throat and the top of the head are dark blue-green. In the mating season, it has an obvious double crest. There is little sexual dimorphism.

Spotted Shags feed at sea, often in substantial flocks, taking its prey from mid-water rather than the bottom. It is likely that pilchard and anchovy are important prey species.

Spotted Shags nest in colonies of 10-700 pairs, these colonies are generally found on the ledges of coastal cliffs or on rocky islets. In the South Island, they are particularly readily observed around Banks Peninsula; there is a large nesting colony immediately south of the city of Christchurch. In Wellington Harbour there is a large colony on a a rocky outcrop known as "Shag Rock" just off the south-west end of Matiu/Somes Island.

The Spotted Shag was featured on a 60-cent New Zealand postage stamp first issued in 1988, in a series devoted to native birds.


Camera: Canon 20D
Time of day: 15:19 p.m.
Date: 4th August 2007
Location: Outdoors
Conditions: Overcast but good light
Lens: Canon 100-400mm L IS
Filter: Hoya 77mm UV
Shutter Speed: 1/250
F-Stop: F/9
Focal Length: 285mm
ISO: 200
Support: Hand Held
Flash: Canon 580EX Speedlite
Original file type: Digital Raw

jrubiocasado, LordPotty, Kathleen, fartash, Pentaxfriend, MMM, vanderschelden, kuhufu, marhowie, rcrick, parthasarathi, scottevers7 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Bufo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 404 W: 69 N: 951] (4247)
  • [2007-09-10 1:10]

Hello Pam,
what a fine close up of this shag. Unusal blue colours.
Regards, Jacob

its great shot from this animal that i has see it now!

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2007-09-10 1:35]

Hi Pam!

Wow, fantastic portrait! Beautifull colours, especially blue one. On black BG it looks superb. Flawless photo. For me only one nit - eye isn't emerald :-) But I know - this is other specie of Shag and emerald eye isn't good for blue/grey/black compo ;-)

Hi Pam
Very nice portrait and very interesting bird.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-09-10 1:49]

Hello Pam,
Yes sure, this is an attractive species the way you photographed it. Perfect sharpness and composition. Great colours and the black BG is a good choice.

Hi Pam,
What a great portrait.
I don't think I've ever seen a Spotted Shag in breeding colours so close up.
I picked up a young one once (in fact it slashed my face with its sharp beak) but I didn't notice the blue at all,
Perhaps I was too preoccupied with the red.
An excellent shot anyway.

Precioso retrato el que nos muestras de esta especie de cormoran.
Un saludo

Hi Pam.
Stunning exposure and detail, absolutly wonderful close image. DOF is great to make the shag really stand out.


great portrait, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-09-10 5:06]

Hi Pam,
an outstanding shot of this bird.
Striking black BG.
Detailed and sharp.
Well done,

Wow! This is a great and very well composed photo. I like it.
Best wishes,

Hi Pam,
This is a really cool 'shot of the shag', I like the long formating in this image as it emphasizes more on the long shape of the birds head. the fill flash is just the right amount without creating blowouts in the whites. :)

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2007-09-10 7:31]

Hi Pam,

A different colored shag,at last for me it is,well captured with good exposure and sharpness,great camerawork,


Hello Pam
Very intersting portrait of this Spotted Shag,
Perfect details,lighting and sharpness,
Superb shot,Welldone.

Good Luck

Hi Pam,

SUPERB close-up
Excellent sharpness, detaiis, colours, POV, DOF and BG

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2007-09-10 10:19]

Hi Pam
Excellent portrait.Fine POV and sharp details.I like that dark BG and that catch light in the eye.
TFS Michel

Hello Pam,
A surprise...never saw this one before.
Well photographed; good portrait...

Hi Pam,
wow - that's marvelous - so close - so sharp - so beautiful. I love the blue feathers so much, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Excelent photo, great colors, sharpnes and bacground.

Hello Pam,
A lovely portrait with fine details!
Well framed, and the background enhanses the subject nicely!
Pablo -

Hello Pam,

Wow, what a fantastic portrait. And what a colours. Stunning exposure and detail. Good POV, DOF and BG. Interesting notes. Regards and TFS Bob

Hi Pam, Wow what an image the colours and detail are just stunning, an excellent composition, Cheers Rick :)

Great shot of the cormorant with note.

  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-09-12 2:38]

Wow Pam, I love this close up of the shag. Such fine detail. Fill flash worked realy well. Great profile and wonderful colour on and around the eye and beak. Nice and sharp with great dof.

Wonderful Pam :)
Excellent use of flash when you just see the sharp details, but not the lights overt effect..
Very good DOF, colors, composition, POV, and this guy looks great on black :)
Very well done.

Hi Pam,
Long time no communicate! Outstanding shot on this Shag! Dark backround maes for a dramatic portrat! Colors and detail in this are superb!
Nice one!

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