European shag

European shag © J.P. Durand - Parc national des Calanques
European shag
European shag nesting in the Soubeyran cliffs © Parc national des Calanques
Group of European shag juveniles © J.P. Durand - Parc national des Calanques
The European shag can be recognised by its blackish plumage with a bottle green tinge, its long neck and thin yellow beak. It has a lighter build than the Great cormorant and has a crest on its forehead during spring in the breeding season.

This unbeatable swimmer feeds on fish that it hunts underwater. It can dive more than 30 meters deep and remain submerged for two minutes! It can often be seen with its wings stretched out in the sun to dry its feathers after having caught fish

Scientific name : Phalacrocorax aristotelis

Breeding season : November to June

Did you know ?

The European shag only lives in the Mediterranean. The Riou archipelago is home to the second biggest colony in France.

Conservation stake




  • Nautical activities by humans
  • Accidental capture in fishing boats
  • Changes to its environment

Conservation management initiatives

  • Channelling marine activities
  • Prohibiting disembarkation in some areas

How can I help to protect it?

  • I keep a safe distance away from coastal cliffs and go by slowly
  • I only disembark where it is authorised