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.



Shags dive for fish from the surface of the sea. They swim gracefully underwater, helped by their webbed feet, in pursuit of fish. They feed in deeper water than cormorants and rarely catch fish which are sought after by human fishermen.

A shag can stay submerged for about a minute, and when it emerges from the water it often stands on a rock (rarely a man-made object) with its wings outstretched, as cormorants do. It is assumed that the wings are being held out to dry but it is strange that it has not evolved efficient waterproofing like other marine birds. The posture could help the bird to digest a large meal of fish, or serve as a signal to other shags.

Read More: Breeding

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