Australian pied cormorant

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Australian pied cormorant
Phalacrocorax varius -Waikawa, Marlborough, New Zealand-8.jpg
In New Zealand
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Suliformes
Family: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Phalacrocorax
Species: P. varius
Binomial name
Phalacrocorax varius
(Gmelin, 1789)

The Australian pied cormorant (/ˌpd ˈkɔːrmərənt/ PYD KOR-mər-ənt), Phalacrocorax varius, also known as the pied cormorant, pied shag, or great pied cormorant, is a medium-sized member of the cormorant family. It is found around the coasts of Australasia. In New Zealand it is usually known either as the pied shag or by its Māori name of Karuhiruhi. Older sources may refer to it as the "yellow-faced cormorant".


Auckland, New Zealand

In New Zealand its range on the east coast extends as far south as Christchurch, though this is a recent extension—older books report it no further south than Kaikoura[citation needed]. In Australia it is only moderately common in the eastern states, but abundant in the west[citation needed].


Although typically found in marine habitat—sometimes solitary, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in vast flocks of hundreds or thousands—it is also attracted to inland waters, including lakes, deep and open swamps, and rivers[citation needed].


In flight, Moreton Bay, Australia

The pied cormorant appears to feed largely on benthic[citation needed] fish. It will dive both in shallow, still water and in rapidly moving currents. Typical dive times are around 40 seconds, with a recovery period of 10–15 seconds between dives[citation needed].