The European Shag is a marine bird very similar to the Cormorant

Similar to the better known Cormorant, but with a long, narrow beak, the European Shag can be found in many areas all over the Island of Elba.

The ventral feathers on the chicks are whitish. The tuft on their head - this is where the Italian name comes from - only grows during the winter in mating season, and only on the males' head!

It is a marine bird that lives along the coasts and makes its nest on high cliffs and rocks that are steep and dfficult to get to, and its favourite fishing places are bays and sheltered gulfs.They usually start laying their eggs about mid December, and continue until May. The eggs (usually 3) hatch about a month later, and the chicks usually leave the nest and take to the air once they are about two months old.

The European Shag is a rare and protected species so please try to avoid disturbing them in any possible way!

Photographs by Nicola Paolini