great black cormorant

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
kelly111
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great black cormorant

Postby kelly111 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:04 pm

Hi is there any where that great black cormorants nest in north canterbury or rangiora.like to get some good photos..thanks
andrewcrossland
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Re: great black cormorant

Postby andrewcrossland » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:54 pm

Nowhere.
kelly111
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Re: great black cormorant

Postby kelly111 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:55 pm

andrewcrossland wrote:Nowhere.

ok thanks i was thinking that.what about out of rangoira..
andrewcrossland
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Re: great black cormorant

Postby andrewcrossland » Thu May 17, 2018 8:10 pm

five Black Comorants were pretty approachable today at the Ashley Estuary (Waikuku). You could probably get some good photos if you approach them slowly.
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simon.fordham
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Re: great black cormorant

Postby simon.fordham » Fri May 18, 2018 12:20 pm

You can usually find them nesting amongst the black shags!
andrewcrossland
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Re: great black cormorant

Postby andrewcrossland » Sat May 19, 2018 11:33 pm

Shags nest on cliffs or slopes, have bright coloured feet, live in marine environments, don't roost on posts, fences, power poles, or trees and don't need to hold their wings out to dry.

Cormorants usually nest in trees, have black feet, live in freshwater, estuarine and near shore coastal environments, roost on posts, fences, power poles and trees, and do have to hold their wings put to dry.

A black cormorant is the name of the bird (a black shag is something that involves two cormorants on a dark moonless night, but this is a family show)

Goats v sheep
Lions v tigers
Cormorants v shags

Different names for different things.......
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simon.fordham
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Re: great black cormorant

Postby simon.fordham » Sun May 20, 2018 5:12 pm

Really? Whilst definitions like this get bandied about, there is no consensus or consistency, for example both the British shag and cormorant have black legs. For all intents and purposes, the terms shag and cormorant are interchangeable. Interestingly, Mr Oxford defines shag as a type of cormorant or 'any cormorant in New Zealand' and Mr Collins defines shag as 'any cormorant.

As for 'black cormorant' this is somewhat colloquial anyway as Australian field guides refer to this species as 'great cormorant', as do major international checklists.

The point is that, in the interests of readers' ease of understanding what species is being discussed, when posting reports it would be helpful if the author was to use the most commonly accepted name in New Zealand. As black shag is the name used in the Heather & Robertson field guide, New Zealand Birds Online and the OSNZ checklist, then surely this is the best name to use.

Cheers
Simon
andrewcrossland
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Re: great black cormorant

Postby andrewcrossland » Mon May 21, 2018 11:40 am

In the case of NZ, using the term "shag" to describe particularly the Phalacrocorax cormorants is highly problematic. Just read Williams (1945) "The shag menace" to recall the history of public prejudice against dirty filthy trout-stealing "shags" For 160 years It's very much been the ornithological "N" word in this country. The public at large should be proud of the rich diversity of species we have and a way to get people to re-set the way they perceive these birds and develop compassion and respect for them is to call them cormorants.......

I've called them cormorants all my life and I must say I feel much the better for it!!
Ian Southey
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Re: great black cormorant

Postby Ian Southey » Tue May 22, 2018 12:10 pm

Andrew

Whether it makes you feel better or not it is mostly a matter of communication, some people may know that a cormorant is also a shag but, in this country, others may not. I think if you check the latest shag phylogenies you will find that Spotted Shags are embedded within the black-footed tree-nesting species and not especially close to the pink-footed ones. The name choice really is arbitrary.

Regarding what feels good to me, shag is a good bit of kiwiana, and also I have used it all my life. When our British ancestors arrived they made a choice about which of two common (maybe more) words they would use and shag was it. In the same way we get dotterel instead of plover so there is also a little bit of a story in it that doesn't include mass murder. And would you prefer to use "Mountain Parrot" on account of the massive bounty payments made on Kea beaks over many, many years?

To settle argument we could try to make a name change to "kawau". That's also a good local name with a tradition of widespread use.

Ian
andrewcrossland
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Re: great black cormorant

Postby andrewcrossland » Tue May 22, 2018 1:07 pm

Ofcourse I hear what you're saying and I'm just trying to spark a little debate at a very lethargic time of year for birdingNZ posts, but "cormorant" rolls off the tongue so well so I think I'll just work on people one-by-one! The Readers Digest NZ bird book got it right and It's good to see local Govt agencies coming round and making the change now.

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