The Shag is very similar to a comorant, both in colouration and morphology. Despite this, Shags tend to be slimmer and a clear distinguishing feature between the two is the raised plumage on their heads.


A coastal species found across Britain (except the south east) and Europe, the Shag prefers to live on rocks and near to seas with clear water.


The main dietary source are various species of fish. They also feed on molluscs and crustaceans.

Predators & Threats

Due to their size and intimidating nature, this species has few predators. The eggs and chicks however are less fortunate and are fed on by rats, foxes and large birds, such as shearwaters.


  • The name “Shag” is derived from the Old Norse word “skegg”, meaning beard, which refers to the crest of the animal.
  • During breeding season this species can appear more of a green colour.


Common Name(s)Scientific Name
Shag, Common Shag, Cormorant.Phalacrocorax aristotelis
  70 – 80 cm
 30 years

Best Time to Look

All year round.


Where to find Shag