Little Pied Cormorant
The little pied cormorant, little shag or kawaupaka (Microcarbo melanoleucos) is a common Australasian waterbird, found around the coasts, islands, estuaries, and inland waters of Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand, Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore, Brunei, Timor Leste, and Indonesia, and around the islands of the south-western Pacific and the subantarctic. It is a small short-billed cormorant usually black above and white below with a yellow bill and small crest, although a mostly black white-throated form predominates in New Zealand. Three subspecies are recognised. Until recently most authorities referred to this species as Phalacrocorax melanoleucos.
The little pied cormorant is a small cormorant measuring 56–58 cm (22–23 in) with a shorter 3 cm (1.2 in) bill and longer tail than the little black cormorant; it has a small black crest. It is found in two morphs in New Zealand. Subspecies melanoleucos and brevicauda are found only in a pied morph, black (with a slight green tinge) above and white beneath. This is also found in subspecies brevirostris, but in this form the melanistic morph is much more common. In this form the entire plumage is black with a greenish tinge except for the sides of the head, chin, throat and upper neck; the bill is yellow with black on top. Intermediate forms are also found.
The pied form is glossy black above with white face, underparts and thighs. The bill and bare skin around the face are yellow. In both forms the legs and feet are black. The pied form is rare in New Zealand, and is most common there in Northland, where it makes up one in every four birds or so.