Phalacrocorax carunculatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Suliformes Phalacrocoracidae

Scientific Name: Phalacrocorax carunculatus (Gmelin, 1789)
Common Name(s):
English Rough-faced Shag, Rough-faced Shag
Spanish Cormorán carunculado
Leucocarbo carunculatus ssp. carunculatus (Gmelin, 1789) — Turbott (1990)
Taxonomic Source(s): Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.
Identification information: 76 cm. Large, black-and-white cormorant. Black head, hind neck, lower back, rump, uppertail-coverts, all with metallic blue sheen. White underparts. Pink feet. White patches on wings appear as bar when folded. Yellow-orange caruncles above base of bill. Similar spp. Pied cormorant P. varius has white face, neck, black feet, no white patches on wings. Voice Makes little noise at colonies, silent elsewhere.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D1+2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Gaze, P., Schuckard, R. & Weeber, B.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Mahood, S., McClellan, R., Pilgrim, J. & Taylor, J.
This species is classified as Vulnerable because it has a very small population and is restricted to four very small islands, rendering it susceptible to stochastic effects and human impacts. If human disturbance or set-netting were shown to cause a population decline or fluctuations in numbers or locations, it would require uplisting to Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Phalacrocorax carunculatus is endemic to New Zealand, where about 85% of the population occupies 5 colonies, White Rocks, Sentinel Rock, Duffers Reef, North Trio and Rahuinui Island, with three smaller colonies off D’Urville Island, Port Gore and Central Pelorus Sound (Schuckard et al. 2015). Birds formerly bred at D'Urville Peninsula and Te Kuru Kuru Island (Taylor 2000). Surveys between 1992 and 2002 indicate a population of c.645 birds, including 102-126 breeding pairs (Schuckard 2006). Aerial surveys in 2015 recorded 839 birds in February 2015 and 187 breeding pairs in June 2015 (Schuckard et al. 2015). Improvements of survey methods are the predominant reason to explain perceived differences in numbers with earlier surveys. The maximum feeding distance from the Duffers Reef colony is 25 km (Schuckard et prep.).
Countries occurrence:
New Zealand
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:430
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:4Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Aerial surveys in 2015 recorded 839 birds in February 2015 and 187 breeding pairs in June 2015 (Schuckard et al. 2015), hence a population of 250-999 mature individuals is assigned here. This equates to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend Justification:  Numbers are believed to have remained stable over the last 50 years (Schuckard 1994, 1998, 2002).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:250-999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:1Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation:100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species breeds on small islets and rock stacks, with nests on all known colonies spaced c.1 m apart (Schuckard et al. 2015). Otolith samples were collected in 2011 from four colonies. A total of seventeen species of fish and dwarf octopus have been identified in the pellets from four colonies of king shag. Witch (Arnoglossus scapha), Lemon sole (Pelotretis flavilatus), Opalfish (Percophidae), Scorpionfish (Helicolenus percoides), True Sole (Peltorhamphus) and Triplefin (Tripterygiidae) (Schuckard and Melville in prep.). 

Systems:Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):8.7
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In the 1800s, collecting by ornithologists and hunting for the fashion trade may have affected numbers (Heather and Robertson 1997). Human disturbance (boats, aircraft and scuba divers) can cause desertion of nests and subsequent predation by gulls Larus spp. (Nelson 1971, Schuckard 1994). New interest from tour operators in the region may increase the problem. Set-nets are sometimes placed very close to colonies (Schuckard 1994) and present a major risk. Birds are occasionally illegally shot (Taylor 2000). Concerns about change of benthic habitat from various activities like land run-off and both mussel and finish aquaculture may have impact on benthic prey and distribution of prey. Conservation management of the King Shag should take into account this species' relic distribution and low genetic diversity (Rawlence in prep.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Conservation Actions Underway

All permanent colonies are wildlife sanctuaries, and are sign-posted. Charter boats have to remain 50-100 m from colonies, but it is thought that this may not be sufficient to avoid considerable disturbance (Schuckard 1994). Black rats Rattus rattus briefly colonised Duffers Reef but were eradicated by 1983 (Taylor 2000). In 2015, a King Shag Management Plan was published as part of granting consent of two more salmon farms in the feeding area (Schuckard, 2015a). Recognition of the feeding areas of the species (1300 km2, 25 km from main colonies) is overdue.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Census all breeding colonies every five years using an established methodology (Taylor 2000). Develop techniques for establishing colonies at new sites. Establish a code of conduct for commercial charter boat operators and fishers to minimise the disturbance of colonies. Obtain protection for all breeding grounds (Taylor 2000). Prevent marine farming close to colonies and avoid further physical and benthic footprint overlap with feeding areas (R.Schuckard in litt.).  Create marked populations to identify potential population structure of species. Identify individual preference of feeding areas through telemetry. Start an advocacy programme to encourage fishers to adopt set-net practices which minimise by catch (Taylor 2000). 

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Phalacrocorax carunculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22696846A95222664. . Downloaded on 24 April 2018.
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