The Imperial Shag, Phalacrocorax atriceps, is a cormorant native to many islands of the Southern Hemisphere.
It is sometimes separated in the genus Leucocarbo. It is also known as the Blue-eyed Shag and by many other names (11 just for the South American race), and is one of a larger group of cormorants called blue-eyed shags.
Several subspecies were formerly split as species, but are lumped with Imperial by HANZAB. They include
- Phalacrocorax (atriceps) bransfieldensis, formerly Antarctic Shag
- Phalacrocorax (atriceps) georgianus, formerly South Georgian Shag
- Phalacrocorax (atriceps) nivalis, formerly Heard Shag
- Phalacrocorax (atriceps) melanogenis, formerly Crozet Shag
- Phalacrocorax (atriceps) purpurascens, formerly Macquarie Shag
The Imperial Shag is endowed with glossy black feathers covering most of its body, with a white belly and neck. It possesses a distinctive ring of blue skin around its eyes, a bright orange nasal crest and pinkish legs and feet.
This species is found on the coasts of southern Chile
, on the Antarctic Peninsula
, and on many islands in the Southern Hemisphere, including the Falklands
, South Georgia
, Heard Island
and Macquarie Island
The diet of this species is predominantly fish. It can dive to a depth of almost 25m and South American populations eat mainly Argentine anchoita
- BirdLife International (2006) Species factsheet: Phalacrocorax atriceps. Downloaded from on 6/5/2007