Family Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

Least Concern

Kerguelen Shag (Leucocarbo verrucosus)


French: Cormoran des Kerguelen German: Kerguelenscharbe Spanish: Cormorán de las Kerguelen

Halieus (Hypoleucus) verrucosus


, 1875,



Sometimes placed in genus Notocarbo or occasionally in Phalacrocorax, but classification here follows results of a comprehensive molecular phylogeny for the entire family#R. Often considered a race of L. atriceps, but specifically distinct (as argued earlier#R#R) on account of its small size, notably in shortness of bill, with mean of 50 (range 45–53) vs 58.53 (54–62) in geographically and probably genetically closest form melanogenis#R (at least 2); much more rounded wing (morphometric character: 1); dull brownish vs reddish-pink feet (2); all-black upperparts (no white on wings or back) (2); and bluish-grey vs strong blue eyering (1). Occasional occurrence of birds with white wingbars exclusively in E Kerguelen may suggest recent arrival of some individuals of L. a. melanogenis or L. a. nivalis, which may subsequently have hybridized with local birds. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Kerguelen Is, in S Indian Ocean.

Descriptive notes

65 cm; 1700–3300 g; wingspan 110 cm. Long erectile crest of upcurved feathers on crown; crown to below gape and even malar region black with greenish-blue gloss.... read more


Male utters hoarse croaks and growls; female makes hissing sounds.


Marine. Feeds in open inshore waters, mainly in bays and fjords of heavily indented shoreline of... read more

Food and feeding

Probably fish and sea urchins. Has occasionally been recorded feeding at surface alongside boats. Forages mainly by pursuit-diving. In May... read more


Laying recorded Sept–Jan, mainly Oct–Nov, varying with colony. Normally breeds in small nuclei of 3–30 pairs, but on... read more


Sedentary; probably some dispersal around islands outside breeding season, although colonies are... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Relatively abundant within its restricted range. Few data on numbers; c. 6000–7000 pairs in 1980s; more recent estimate in... read more

Recommended citation

Orta, J., Garcia, E.F.J., Christie, D.A., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Kerguelen Shag (Leucocarbo verrucosus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 June 2019).