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Going green...

Around our coast you’ll be able to see some of our largest seabirds and the Cormorant and Shag are among the largest. These birds are about the size of a goose and the Shag can be distinguished as being smaller with a steeper forehead. The green plumage of the Shag in the breeding season is very noticeable.

Shag photographed between fishing trips on Shetland

These birds usually nest on remote rocky outcrops around our coastline in the north and west. Although, the cormorant can also be found nesting and feeding on inland waters much to the dismay of some fishermen.

The shag is a red listed species due to the few sites on which it breeds, although their numbers increase from 27,000 to 110,000 during the winter in the UK. Both are fish-eaters diving to capture their prey.

Cormorant seen in south Kessock Inverness alongside a Black-backed gull

The cormorant is often seen inshore with its wings held out to dry after its fishing trip. The UK holds internationally important wintering numbers with up to 50,000 birds.

Keep an eye out for these birds when next out and about and see if you can tell them apart.


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