Imperial Shag, Southern Sea Lion & an Albatross Too!

The Imperial Shag (this odd name sounds like a rude comment about the British Monarchy, but thankfully it’s not) is a species of cormorant native to the Sub-Antarctic Islands and Southern South America. They look much like penguins, but they can fly, both in the air and under water. Here you can see them sunning with Southern Sea Lions, AKA South American Sea lions on an island off the coast of Ushuaia. I much confess that I am puzzled by the Southern Sea Lions. They look nothing like the sea lions I am familiar with in California, but apparently are closely related. These Southern Sea Lions are fatter, furrier and look more like a Weddell seal. They probably need the extra fat and fur to survive in the arctic waters. They are quite handsome I think! (Click to enlarge.)

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In this photo, an Albatross is flying overhead.

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Here is a better shot of the handsome sea lions.

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25 thoughts on “Imperial Shag, Southern Sea Lion & an Albatross Too!

      1. Yes the California coastal sea lions make horrendous noise. If you stay in a coastal hotel, you need to make sure no sea lion colonies are nearby. I still have my doubts that these were Southern Sea Lions. I wonder if they were Southern Fur Seals. They looked more like this to me and they were quite quiet unlike sea lions who are always barking as you rightly point out!

  1. I should point out perhaps that in addition to the sexual connotation (great monarchy joke BTW Cindy) shag is also a form of tobacco that has yet to be rubbed and prepared for smoking, and is a word golfers use for idly knocking a ball round nine holes before adjourning to the bar.

    Also BTW I assume you were the reader who dropped over onto my blog from Argentina a few days ago. Thanks for that.

    I haven’t commented on all the wonderful photos you’ve been posting, but i have looked at them all Seemed bad manners not to since before you went away I instructed you to send lots.

    1. Hello Duncan,
      Great to hear from you. Have missed you! Are these other meaning for shag Britishisms or just vocabulary?
      I really didn’t want to joke about the monarchy, or be disrespectful, but the word shag, definitely was an immediate connotation for me, even BEFORE Austin Powers baby!
      I’m heading over to your blog to see what you’ve been up too!
      Cheers to you and thank you for the visit!

      1. Cindy, you can take the mickey out of the monarchy to your heart’s content as far as I’m concerned. It’s strictly treason, and the death penalty still applies over here for that, but I get away with it.
        Shag as a type of tobacco may be British. I’m not sure.
        Shagging a ball around a golf course is cerainly common parlance in the bit of the US I’ve been to.
        Nice to have you back too. I didn’t want you, one of my earliest followers and vociferous supporters, to think I’d neglected you.
        There’s some seriously off the wall stuff for you to catch up on.

  2. what an interesting species…I’d never heard of them before…they do look much ike Penguins don’t they, except their neckline is more defined I think?

  3. At first glance at this post, I thought they WERE penguins, and my eye immediately went to the one in the air, thinking hmmm, I didn’t know they could fly. Well, duh, I should’ve known, lol. The sea lions remind me of seals, too. What is going on with all these animals disguised as other animals? They must be undercover agents, lol!

  4. I wondered as I looked more at the photo if my identification was correct. I assumed the bird flying in the shot was an albatross because I had just photographed a group of albatross nearby and they took to flight and I saw their massive wings. Looking at this photo, I am not certain it is an albatross, and may be a gull. Do you know? Also, I just read an article about the oldest still breeding Albatross, 62 years old and just had a chick!!! The biologist who first banded this albatross 52 years ago is still alive and quite elderly.
    Remarkable & beautiful birds! I just adore them. To me they symbolize the southern ocean.

    1. I think this is why I posted them later. They are so easy to confuse with penguins. It’s odd, the black/white coloration is supposed to be camaflouging. Penguins, orcas and these comorants all have it. I think it’s to make them less visible underwater, but this has never made any sense to me. They are all so easy to spot.

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