New Zealand king shag

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New Zealand king shag
New zealand king shag.jpg
New Zealand king shags
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Pelecaniformes
Family: Phalacrocoracidae
Genus: Leucocarbo
Species: L. carunculatus
Binomial name
Leucocarbo carunculatus
Gmelin, 1789

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.


Image of Male New Zealand king shag from the collection of Auckland Museum
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. They can be seen from the Cook Strait ferries in Queen Charlotte Sound opposite the beginning of the Tory Channel.[citation needed]


New Zealand king shags live in the coastal waters of the Marlborough Sounds where they are known to breed only on rocky islets at four small sites.[2]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Phalacrocorax carunculatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheets: Duffers Reef. Sentinel Rock. Trio Islands. White Rocks. Downloaded from on 2012-02-03.

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