To: 'Canberra Birds' <>
Subject: Shags
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Mon, 8 Oct 2018 03:15:39 +0000

Well I think this all started with the on-line poll about NZ favourite bird and that the poll was corrupted by phony votes. I strongly suspect the phony votes relate to immature humour around the euphemism connotation of shag relating to sex. Thus it is relevant. Complicated by the strange aspect that it appears that all species are mostly known as shags in NZ. Shag is easier and thus understandable as NZ people apparently don’t like vowels. Complicated by the question is there an actual difference between the two types. That shag is one species in Europe does not easily clarify this when applied to several other species in our part of the world. This does not always flow through correctly, as in the difference between magpie, chough, jabiru, etc from the original named species to a quite different type here. I mostly learned bird names from books (especially Cayley) rather than regional community bird names. Obviously others have a different start point.  Though I did start with Blue Crane for White-faced Heron.  John’s comment is interesting given that they all hang out their wings to dry.


From: Kevin Windle [
Sent: Monday, 8 October, 2018 12:28 PM
To: Canberra Birds
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Shags


For the poetically inclined:




From: John Harris [
Sent: Monday, 8 October 2018 12:15 PM
To: Canberra Birds <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Shags


Well the ‘me too’ syndrome has clicked in! What we have of course is the frequent disparity between common names and taxonomic standard names.

As a boy, I knew both cormorant and shag as bird names. For us boys mucking around, maybe fishing but generally getting up to no good in and around the creeks and wetland, , birds and bird behaviour were our interest and fascination but we were quite unscientific.

I think we called cormorants shags if they hung out their wings to dry. So little black cormorant of course but we weren’t particular. I think we probably called darters ‘shag’ too for the same reason. I think we called the LP Comorant a cormorant.. For what it’s worth…..John






From: Marg Peachey <>
Date: Monday, 8 October 2018 at 11:20 am
To: Elizabeth Compston <>
Cc: chatline <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Shags


I grew up west of Orange NSW and we called them shags


Marg Peachey
President, ACT Wildlife
p: 0450 961 530
e: m("","president");" target="_blank">

Image removed by sender.






On Mon, Oct 8, 2018 at 10:51 AM Elizabeth Compston <> wrote:

When I was growing up, in Cottesloe W A in the  30 s and 40 s they were always called shags


Sent from my iPad

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