Identifying Cormorant and Shag

A black, reptilian-looking bird swims by low to the water - but is it a Cormorant or a Shag? Cormorants are more familiar and wide-spread, although Shags are more numerous. Let us help you to separate these two similar-looking species of water bird.

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Recent Bird ID videos

Ruff. Photograph by Ed Drewitt
By learning how to recognise Ruff in their various guises through this video, you’ll be able to pick them out with confidence.
Herring Gull. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes
Build up your gull ID skills by learning to recognise two ideal reference species: Common Gull and Herring Gull.
Corn Bunting. Photograph by John Harding
Yellowhammer, Cirl and Corn Bunting all breed in farmland in the UK, and can all present identification challenges.