Skip to main content

Imperial Shag

Phalacrocorax atriceps
The Imperial Shag goes by many names, including the Blue Eyed Shag and the Blue Eyed Cormorant. They live in the southern reaches of the planet, hunting and breeding as far away as Antarctica.

As with all Cormorants, the Imperial Shag dives for its food. They have very little body fat and heavy bones. This allows them to be less buoyant and to swim underwater easier. The Shags posses a large volume of blood, and that extra oxygen lets them stay underwater for up to 4 minutes. They also have powerful webbed feet that propel them, and hooked beaks that enable them to catch and hold on to slippery fish.

Outside of the breeding season Imperial Shags may live either alone or in flocks. But when the time comes to reproduce they always end up in massive colonies that often consist of other bird species as well. Pairs are monogamous, and 2-4 eggs are laid each season. Both parents incubate and  care for the offspring until they fledge after 2-3 months.

Because most Imperial Shags live in areas that tend to be human-free, they aren't threatened overall. However, some small island populations are vulnerable to natural events that could affect their breeding and hunting range.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Southern Oceans
Size : Length up to 31in (78cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Pelecaniformes
Family : Phalacrocoracidae -- Genus-: Phalacrocorax -- Species : P. atriceps


Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a


For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!


The Binturong ( Arctictis binturong ) also has an equally awesome alternate common name, the Bearcat! However, it really isn't much of a bear OR a cat. While it is true that it is part of the Feliforma suborder, it is not a member of family Felidae. Binturongs are a part of their own family, Viverridae, which is shared with Civets, Linsangs, and Genets. There are six subspecies of Binturong, all of which have slight differences based upon location and habitat. Binturongs range in body size from 60-100cm in length, (not including their tail which has roughly the same length) and weigh between 20 and 30lbs. Binturongs are nocturnal animals native to the rain forests of South East Asia. The species range spans through several countries including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. They are tree dwelling mammals, and have fully prehensile tails that basically double their body length and can be used to cling to the trees or to grasp food. Binturongs are phe