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New Zealand king shag facts for kids

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New Zealand king shag
New zealand king shag.jpg
New Zealand king shags
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Genus:
Leucocarbo
Species:
carunculatus
Synonyms

Phalacrocorax carunculatus

The New Zealand king shag (Leucocarbo carunculatus), also known as the rough-faced shag, king shag or kawau, is a rare bird endemic to New Zealand. Some taxonomic authorities, including the International Ornithologists' Union, place this species in the genus Leucocarbo. Others place it in the genus Phalacrocorax.

Description

Leucocarbo carunculatus (AM LB4266)
Male New Zealand king shag from the collection of Auckland Museum

It is a large (76 cm long, 2.5 kg in weight) black and white cormorant with pink feet. White patches on the wings appear as bars when the wings are folded. Yellow-orange swellings (caruncles) are found above the base of the bill. The grey gular pouch is reddish in the breeding season. A blue eye-ring indicates its kinship with the other blue-eyed shags.

Habitat

New Zealand king shags can be seen from the Cook Strait ferries in Queen Charlotte Sound opposite the beginning of the Tory Channel. They live in the coastal waters of the Marlborough Sounds where they are known to breed only on rocky islets at four small sites.

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