Notes on the plumages and breeding cycle of the spotted shag. Phalacrorax punctatus punctatus

Turbott, E.G.

Rec Auckland Inst And Mus 4(6): 343-363


Accession: 025107092

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The present and past distribution of the spotted shag in the Auckland area is outlined. In addition to a colony previously recorded, another colony is known to have survived in the eastern Hauraki Gulf during the period of greatest destruction, 1910-1931. Terminology for stages of plumage as suggested by Murphy for certain S. American shags is adopted, as it conforms to data on the colony at Bethells. Field notes on the breeding cycle and corresponding plumage changes at Bethells are given, and material in the Auckland Mus. discussed with reference to the field observations. It was not possible to find a satisfactory means of distinguishing between the post-juvenal stage (i.e., the 1st plumage following the juvenal) and the corresponding adult plumage (adult post-nuptial). An investigation based on ringing would indicate whether this plumage differs from the adult. The 1st pre-nuptial plumage apparently does not differ from the adult pre-nuptial. The observations on breeding cycle at Bethells are compared with the records available from colonies on the David Rocks and eastern Waoheke Island (Hauraki Gulf), and differences in breeding seasons are briefly discussed.