How to identify

Shags are dark, goose-sized birds with long necks. They look similar to Cormorants but are smaller and slimmer with a characteristic steep forehead. In the breeding season, adults develop a dark glossy green plumage and prominent recurved crest on the front of their head. In the UK, they breed on coastal sites – mainly in the north and west – and more than half of their population is found at less than 10 sites, making them a Red List species. Shags usually stay within 100-200km of their breeding grounds.


  1. Resident
  2. Passage
  3. Summer
  4. Winter
* This map is intended as a guide. It shows general distribution rather than detailed, localised populations.
  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

Key facts

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