Family Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)

Least Concern

Rock Shag (Phalacrocorax magellanicus)


French: Cormoran de Magellan German: Felsenscharbe Spanish: Cormorán magallánico
Other common names: Magellan Cormorant, Magellanic Cormorant

Pelecanus magellanicus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Tierra del Fuego and Staten Island


Sometimes placed in genus Stictocarbo or occasionally in Leucocarbo. Monotypic.


Pacific and Atlantic coasts of S South America, including Tierra del Fuego and Falkland Is. Non-breeders recorded N to NC Chile (Valparaíso) and Uruguay.

Descriptive notes

66–71 cm; wingspan 92 cm. Breeding adult has rather short crest on crown. Plumage of head, neck, back, rump to uppertail-coverts and onto thighs black, glossed purplish... read more


Usually silent, except near breeding colonies. Calls at nest include low-pitched drawn-out guttural... read more


Marine; coasts, islands and channels. Apparently prefers colder waters, which are more prevalent in... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds solitarily, mainly by pursuit diving. The breeding season diet also shows considerable overlap with that of sympatric P. atriceps... read more


Lays Oct–Dec. Forms small colonies. Nests on cliff ledges and rocks; nest is tight cup of seaweed, cemented together with excreta.... read more


Some post-breeding dispersal towards northern limits of breeding range; some move N as far as... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common but not abundant. Colonies are more numerous on the Pacific coast and the Atlantic coast. Common in Chile and... read more

Recommended citation

Orta, J., Garcia, E.F.J., Jutglar, F., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2018). Rock Shag (Phalacrocorax magellanicus). 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 16 October 2018).