Microcarbo melanoleucos brevirostris
New Zealand Status: Endemic
Conservation Status: Not Threatened
Microcarbo melanoleucos is a small cormorant measuring 560–580mm with a shorter 30mm bill and longer tail than the little black cormorant. NZ birds are of the subspecies 'brevirostris' whose plumage varies from all black to pied. The pied form is black on the back with white front markings, sometimes just at the throat, or covering the whole front, or a mix of the two.
The different plumage forms freely interbreed. Breeding occurs once a year in spring or early summer. Females lay two to five pale blue-green eggs between August and February. Little shags live for up to six years.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader