Pitt shag

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Pitt shag
NZ Shags.jpg
A Pitt shag (right) and a spotted shag (left), in an illustration by John Gerrard Keulemans
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Suliformes
Family: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Phalacrocorax
Species: P. featherstoni
Binomial name
Phalacrocorax featherstoni
Buller, 1873

The Pitt shag (Phalacrocorax featherstoni), also known as the Pitt Island shag or Featherstone's shag is a species of bird in the family Phalacrocoracidae. It is endemic to Pitt Island. Its natural habitats are open seas and rocky shores. It is threatened by habitat loss.

This representative of the shags in the Chatham Group was discovered by H.H. Travers in 1871. Buller dedicated the species to Dr Featherston, superintendent of the Province of Wellington at that time.

Apparently never a common species, it was reported as nearly extinct in 1905. The Department of Conservation does have a recovery plan for this bird.

Members of the shag family belong to three groups, based on the colour of their feet: black, yellow or pink. Outside New Zealand, the black-footed shags are better known as cormorants. The Pitt shag belongs to the yellow footed group.


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