During breeding the spotted shag looks regal in its patterned cloak of plumage, the muted browns and greys a departure from the stark black-and-white of many shags. It has a generous double crest, the eye ring is a greenish blue, and the flesh in front of the eye is an almost fluorescent emerald green. Fine white feathers hang from its neck. Most of these features become lost or muted later in the breeding season. The birds build nests in cliffs, preferably under overhangs, using grasses, seaweed and other vegetation.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Paddy Ryan
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