Family Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae)


Rough-faced Shag (Leucocarbo carunculatus)


French: Cormoran caronculé German: Warzenscharbe Spanish: Cormorán carunculado
Other common names: New Zealand King Shag, King Shag

Pelecanus carunculatus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand, and Staten Island


Alternatively placed in Phalacrocorax or Euleucocarbo, but classification here follows results of a comprehensive molecular phylogeny for the entire family#R. In past, often considered to include L. chalconotus and L. onslowi; these three were sometimes treated as conspecific with L. campbelli complex (campbelli, ranfurlyi and colensoi). Monotypic.


Restricted to area of Cook Strait (New Zealand), breeding in Marlborough Sounds region of NE South I: on White Rocks, Sentinel Rock, Duffers Reef, Trio Is, and Rahuinui I (off D’Urville I). Formerly bred on D’Urville Peninsula (EC D’Urville I) and on nearby Tekuru Kuru I.

Descriptive notes

76 cm; c. 2500–2655 g. Short-tailed, large-billed and rather long-headed pied shag with almost all-black head and noticeable but not very prominent yellowish caruncles... read more


Usually silent away from breeding colonies. At nest, loud, guttural calls “ergh...ergh” of male and... read more


Marine. Forages in waters close to coast, in sheltered inlets and bays. Breeds on rocky islets and... read more

Food and feeding

Probably benthic fish and crustaceans. Feeds mainly by pursuit-diving. Sometimes forms small feeding flocks.


Mainly Mar–Dec, laying frequently in Jun/Jul; season varies between years and at different colonies; on occasions birds may... read more


Sedentary. Very occasionally recorded elsewhere on South I, away from Cook Strait.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Global population perhaps does not exceed 700 individuals. Between 1992 and 2002, the four main colonies in the outer Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, were... read more

Recommended citation

Orta, J., Jutglar, F., Garcia, E.F.J., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2019). Rough-faced Shag (Leucocarbo carunculatus). 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 18 August 2019).