Spotted shag is the party leader species representing all of the unique shag species in Aotearoa. These deep divers eat small fish and marine invertebrates with the longest dive recorded at 70 seconds. Fishermen use to regarded the shag as competitors, leading to shags being commonly hunted. Now however since 1931, shooting them is now banned and the numbers are recovering and seen mainly on the coastlines of the South Island.
Nationally spotted shags are not threatened with extinction but in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf things are different. The Hauraki Gulf spotted shag is genetically distinct from all others further south and is highly endangered. With just 900 or so restricted to one main colony, this bird’s future is uncertain.
Johnny is a dreamer.
He woke up one day, took a look at the state of Bird of the Year with all its big money and bigger personalities and thought "The people deserve better."
Over the next few weeks, you're going to hear a lot about having to choose between elite birds like the whio, the kōtuku or the kārearea. What you're not going to hear is anyone tell you which bird you can likely enjoy a beer with.
Johnny is endorsing the spotted shag, the people's bird, and encourages all celebrities to do the same.