The Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius) is a medium-sized member of the cormorant family. It is found around the coasts of Australasia. In New Zealand it is usually known as the Pied Shag or by its Maori name of Karuhiruhi. Older sources may refer to it as the “Yellow-faced Cormorant”.
In New Zealand its range on the east coast extends as far south as Christchurch, though this is a recent extension—older books report it no further south than Kaikoura. In Australia it is only moderately common in the eastern states, but abundant in the west.
Although typically found in marine habitat—sometimes solitary, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in vast flocks of hundreds or thousands—it is also attracted to inland waters, including billabongs, deep and open swamps, and rivers.
The Pied Cormorant appears to feed largely on benthic fish. It will dive both in shallow, still water and in rapidly moving currents. Typical dive times are around 40 seconds, with a recovery period of 10-15 seconds between dives.
- BirdLife International (2004). Phalacrocorax 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern