Posted on Leave a comment

Pitt Island shag – a bird a day

Back to the Chatham Islands

​Pitt Island is the second largest island in the Chatham Archipelago, New Zealand. It is called Rangiauria in Māori and Rangiaotea in Moriori.
Source:
Wikipedia
We have seen several other species from the Chatham Islands in this series:

Picture

Pitt Island shag. Adult on nest showing facial skin. Little Mangere Island, Chatham Islands, September 1976. Image © Department of Conservation (image ref: 10035643) by Dick Veitch, Department of Conservation Courtesy of Department of Conservation

Picture

Pitt Island shag. Pair on nest. Point Munning, Chatham Islands, October 2012. Image © Mark Fraser by Mark Fraser

The Pitt Island shag is a critically endangered shag restricted to the Chatham Islands. As the only small slender grey shag with yellow feet in the islands, it is easily recognised. Despite its declining population, it can readily be found breeding and roosting in small groups along the rocky coast line throughout the group. It is a marine species that breeds and roosts on rocky headlands and offshore islets and within parts of the brackish Te Whanga Lagoon.
Source:
NZ Birds online
Picture

Great cormorant with hooked bill

Picture

Pitt Island shag. Adult with chicks. Mangere Island, Chatham Islands, December 1987. Image © Alan Tennyson by Alan Tennyson Alan Tennyson

Shags and Cormorants

​No consistent distinction exists between cormorants and shags. The names ‘cormorant’ and ‘shag’ were originally the common names of the two species of the family found in Great Britain, Phalacrocorax carbo (now referred to by ornithologists as the great cormorant) and P. aristotelis (the European shag). “Shag” refers to the bird’s crest, which the British forms of the great cormorant lack. As other species were encountered by English-speaking sailors and explorers elsewhere in the world, some were called cormorants and some shags, depending on whether they had crests or not. Sometimes the same species is called a cormorant in one part of the world and a shag in another, e.g., the great cormorant is called the black shag in New Zealand (the birds found in Australasia have a crest that is absent in European members of the species).
Source:
Wikipedia

The Pitt Island Shag

A small, slender grey marine shag of the Chatham Islands, with yellow feet and a very slender bill. In breeding plumage it has a blackish head with a prominent double crest.
​​Source:
NZ Birds online
Picture

Pitt Island shag. Adult standing in nest. Little Mangere Island, Chatham Islands, September 1976. Image © Department of Conservation (image ref: 10035644) by Rod Morris, Department of Conservation Courtesy of Department of Conservation

Picture

Pitt Island shag. Chick close to fledging. Rangatira Island, Chatham Islands. Image © Department of Conservation (image ref: 10033362) by Phil Clerke, Department of Conservation Courtesy of Department of Conservation

Picture

Pitt Island shag. Adult on rock. Rangatira Island, Chatham Islands, February 2010. Image © Graeme Taylor by Graeme Taylor

Picture

Pitt Island shag. Adults on nests in rock cavities. Rangatira Island, Chatham Islands, August 1968. Image © Department of Conservation (image ref: 10038250) by John Kendrick, Department of Conservation Courtesy of Department of Conservation

Time to draw

This bird puts on a show for breeding season, so I think I will draw it in all its finery, double crest and all.
This one required colours from several designs, which was fun to figure out.
Picture

Using kakariki, black robin, and white tern colours

Picture

Matching kakariki colours to the eye skin

And there we go – one quirky wee shag.
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.