King Shag Case Study

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Genetic parentage in New Zealand King Shag (Leucocarbo carunculatus) in Marlborough Sound-
Sally Tang 13215472, Massey University
Introduction
The New Zealand King Shag Leucocarbo carunculatus, also known as the rough-faced shag, is an endemic species to New Zealand and can be considered one of the world’s rarest sea birds. They are large, black-and-white cormorant with a metallic blue sheen and are distinguishable by their yellow/orange caruncles above the base of their bill. They are nationally endangered and are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN (BirdLife International. 2016, IUCN 2016) with an estimated population size of 869 individuals (Schuckard et al., 2015b). The New Zealand King Shag, referred to as King Shag from now, has one of
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Courtship and breeding periods can be identified by the observational studies of the frequency by circle-flying and collection of nest materials (Schuckard, R. 1994). King Shags are known to have a monogamous social system and commonly raise a single brood per year. Parents both share incubation of eggs, active roles in brood care and in chick feeding, as their nestlings are altricial (Schuckard, R. 2013). Roosting and breeding occur on a small number of islands, and they can be found there throughout the year in Marlborough Sounds. Breeding activity typical occur between March-August, and the nesting sites are found in cliff edges and raised platforms ((Nelson, A. 1971; Schuckard, R. …show more content…
What is currently known is that the clutch sizes range from 1 to 3 eggs the breeding success is 9.3% out of 10 juveniles and there is a 6-month breeding season from courtship to the collection of nesting in material. Breeding is not completely synchronised between the colonies, and between 50-80% of the birds in each colony partake in breeding pairs breeding (Schuckard, R. 1994), with other individuals not attempting to breed (Nelson, A. 1971; Butler, D. 2003). The incubation length, nestling period, age at fledging, age at independence as well as typical age at first breeding are all unknown. Gene flow or dispersal between colonies have not be researched (Schuckard, R.

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