Like its larger relative, the Cormorant, the shag is a member of the pelican family. It spends more time on the coasts and out at sea than the Cormorant, rarely venturing inland.

Breeding

Shags nest in small colonies in sheltered rocky ledges or sea caves, particularly at the bottom of seacliffs. The nest is made of sticks and seaweed, lined with grass. From one to six eggs may be laid and they are pale blue with a chalky white coating.

The eggs hatch after a month of incubation and the chicks have a thick coat of brown down. Both parents feed the youngsters whilst they remain on the nest for seven or eight weeks. Shags are fierce defenders of their nest and young and refuse to leave the nest if attacked, thrusting their sharp beaks forward and hissing loudly. This is usually enough to frighten away all but the most determined enemy!

Read More: Shags and humans

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