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Brief Summary

The South Georgia Shag is found only on South Georgia Island (where this species has the greatest population), South Sandwich Island, and the South Orkney Islands (Clements 2014).  The islands are located in the Antarctic region of the southern Atlantic Ocean, near to both Argentina and the Antarctic Peninsula. This marine bird is also known as the South Georgia Cormorant and has five other synonymous names: Phalacrocorax georgianus, Notocarbo atriceps georgianus, Notocarbo geogianus, Leucocarbo atriceps georgianus, and Leucocarbo geogianus.  The species was described by Einar Lönnberg of Sweden in his book “Contributions to the Fauna of South Georgia” in 1906 (Kennedy and Spencer 2014).  Of the order Pelecaniformes, the South Georgia Shag is a member of the Phalacrocoracidae family, containing 39 species of cormorants and shags (Shields 2006).  Many researchers use the name Phalacrocorax as the only genus within the Phalacrocoracidae family because of the lack of knowledge of these birds.  Others have used Phalacrocorax and Leucocarbo as the two major genera, out of seven total genera, within that family (Kennedy and Spencer 2014).  There are also discrepancies over whether or not this is a species or a subspecies of Phalacrocorax atriceps (the Imperial Shag) because it too is a blue-eyed shag (Worthy 2011). 

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© Gabrielle Abbott, Mary Brockett, and Sara Scanga (Utica College)

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