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65-80 centimeters
90-105 centimeters wingspan

color (adults):

dark back, long tail, yellow throat patch; adults have small crest in breeding season


sprat, sardines, capelin, young herring, small cod and lesser sandeel

Dutch status:

migratory, seen year round under normal circumstances (sufficient food)




3 eggs

life span:

unknown (maximum known age: + 30.5 years)

  • Dut: Kuifaalscholver
  • Eng: Shag
  • Fre: Cormoran huppé
  • Ger: Krähenscharbe
  • Dan: Topskarv
  • Nor: Toppskarv
  • Fries: Túf-ielgoes
  • Ital: Marangone dal ciuffo
  • Lat: Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Shag (nesting on Farne Islands), Foto Fitis,


Shags have a crest which is only really apparent in the summer. Nevertheless, this bird is called the 'tufted cormorant' in Dutch. Actually, shag is an old name meaning tufted. Shags nest in colonies along the North Sea and Mediterranean Sea. Their neighbors are often guillemots, auks, kittiwakes, fulmars and herring gulls. Shags make their nest on bare rock. They soften it up using seaweed and other objects that wash ashore.

  • Distribution and habitat

    In contrast with cormorants, shags are rarely found in freshwater. At sea, they are almost always found close by rocky coasts. They wander further away from land after nesting season. In the Netherlands in April and May, young birds are sometimes seen by 'artificial rocks', such as the pier in IJmuiden and by Brouwersdam.

  • Protection
    • Monitoring: Network Ecological Monitoring
    • National legislation: Flora and Fauna Regulation
    • International: Bern Convention