Falkland Islands, January 2012
The Imperial Shag is a black and white cormorant native to many subantarctic islands including the Falklands.
This is a colonial, monogamous species. The colonies are often shared with other seabirds such as Rock Shags, Southern
Rockhopper Penguins and Black-browed Albatrosses. They lay up to 5 eggs (usually 2-3) in a nest made of seaweed and
grass, and cemented together with mud and excrements. The eggs usually hatch in about five weeks, and are brooded by
both parents. Many chicks and eggs are lost to predators such as skuas.
One of the most interesting things to watch in a shag colony is the landings which all come from one direction, against the wind.
It is fascinating watching the King Shag feed its young. The young stick their heads down the throat of the parent!
The King Shags were getting almost as big as their parents.
These maturing chicks were running around both individually and in groups flapping their wings and making earnest efforts to
fly. Initially, they would fly a few feet, then a few yards, and then further.