Shag (Macquarie) Leucocarbo purpurascens
Species: L. purpurascens
Binomial name: Leucocarbo purpurascens
Synonyms: Leucocarbo atriceps purpurascens, Phalacrocorax purpurascens, Notocarbo purpurascens
Common names: Macquarie shag, Macquarie Island shag, Macquarie Island cormorant
Leucocarbo purpurascens is a blue-eyed, marine cormorant native to Macquarie Island and its islets in the Southern Ocean about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica.
Leucocarbo purpurascens has largely black upperparts and white underparts. The upper cheeks and ear-coverts are black; there are white bars on the wings, a black, recurved crest over the forehead, and pink feet. A breeding adult has a pair of orange caruncles (small, fleshy excrescence) above the base of the bill in front of the eyes, an orange-brown facial skin at the base of the lower mandible, as well as blue eye-rings. It is about 75 cm in length, with a wingspan of 110 cm and a weight of >3.5 kg.
These shags are gregarious, roosting in groups of from a few birds up to several hundred. Apart from breeding and roosting, its habitat is marine. They forage locally in shallow coastal waters, with the diet consisting primarily of benthic fish.
Leucocarbo purpurascens breed annually in small to large colonies on bare rocky shores and stacks. Nest-building takes place from June. Nests are truncated cones, 20–30 cm in height, built of vegetation, guano and mud. The clutch of two or three eggs is laid between mid-September and January, mainly in late September and early November, with most eggs hatching by late December. Most chicks are independent of their parents by mid-February.
Leucocarbo purpurascenson Macquarie Island, Subantarctic.
Photo courtesy of Tamzin Henderson@ https://www.tamzinnz.com/
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