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Karuhiruhi - pied shag - Phalacrocorax varius

One of New Zealand’s larger native cormorants (shags). The bill is pale, and facial skin yellow, the eye-ring blue. Immature birds have white underparts slightly mottled with dark. Feet black. Adults average 81 cm., 2 kg, black above, face from above eye and all underparts white except for black thighs, long grey bill, eye-ring blue, feet black. Although usually feeding only in coastal waters this cormorant does sometimes nest and feed inland. This bird was actively fishing in the freshwater lake at Zealandia, the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington city, a comparatively short flight from the coast and was seen to take several small perch.


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Taken on July 10, 2012