European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Updated: Mar 12, 2021
The European shag or common shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) Greek: Θαλασσοκόρακας - Thalassokorakas is a species of cormorant. It breeds around the rocky coasts of western and southern Europe, southwest Asia and north Africa, mainly wintering in its breeding range except for the northernmost birds. In Britain this seabird is usually referred to as simply the shag. The scientific genus name is Latinised Ancient Greek, from φαλακρός (phalakros, "bald") and κόραξ (korax, "raven"). The species name aristotelis commemorates the Greek philosopher Aristotle In Thassos you can observe it almost everywhere in the sea and the coasts. In the wider region of the northern Aegean is one of the largest colonies of the species in the Mediterranean.
Although these birds are very similar to cormorants, you will never find them flying over land but only over the sea. They can dive to a depth of 50 meters and swim very fast under water hunting fish. It lays 1 - 3 eggs every year from December to February depending on the availability of food. Most of the breeding sites of the species have been included in the Natura 2000 program and are protected.