Posted by Duncan on December 06, 2002 at 12:44:40 from 18.104.22.168 user Duncan.
In Reply to: Re: cormorants or shags? posted by John Lambert on December 05, 2002 at 17:17:12:
Can I just check, all joking and censoriousness aside, that we're clear that the birds that AR describes on Cormorant Island are CORMORANTS: Phalacrocorax carbo, not SHAGS: phalacrocorax aristotelis.
Just to confirm, Cormorants generally nest in a pile of twigs, seaweed or flotsam but also sometimes in trees or reed-beds, shags only nest on sheltered rocky ledges.
'Unlike its cousin, the cormorant, the shag is an entirely maritime bird, favouring deeper waters and rockier coasts than its relative.'
Cormorants and Great Northern Diver-plus sized whereas shags are red-throated-to-black-throated size.
On the water it's very easy to mistake comorants and shags for diverse divers. If you're close enough the bill gives a lot away, but from a distance the main distinguishing method is, cormorants and shags have a long tail (divers hardly have a tail although what they do have is sometimes held upright when bothered - I saw a couple red-throated divers behaving that way when confused by a poorly dolphin on the coast of Ireland once!) and GENERALLY (but not quite always) divers submerge very smoothly with hardly a splash while shags and cormorants leap quite out of the water in order to submerge.
But it is much easier to mix them up than you'd think!!
Post a Followup