Pandoteira is studying the European Shag

The European Shag is one of the few seabirds that nest in Cyprus. It perches and nests on rocky shores, steep, coastal cliffs and small uninhabited rocky islands near the coast, feeding on molluscs and small fish. Its continuous presence on our island is an indication of a healthy marine environment.

Cyprus is home to the Shag subspecies Gulosus aristotelis desmarestii, which nests only in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Unfortunately, the global population of the species has suffered a significant decline in the last 30 years, which is why our contribution to its protection is required.

From September 2022 until February 2024, members of the Pandoteira project team, from the Game and Fauna Service and BirdLife Cyprus, conducted a series of bird counts by sea, targeting this important seabird. Our team then proceeded to place GPS loggers on young and adult Shags.

The placement of GPS loggers began in 2023 and will continue throughout 2024. Through the GPS loggers we collect data and gain deeper knowledge on these beautiful seabirds. For example, through these devices we learn about areas where birds choose to nest, rest or feed. We also learn about the threats they may face, such as:

  • Bycatch, i.e. the incidental capture of non-target species such as seabirds, sea turtles, sharks, etc.,
  • The entanglement of the birds in fishing gear – mainly “ghost” nets and longlines left and abandoned on the seabed,
  • Rats feeding on their eggs.

With this data, the Pandoteira team will be able to proceed with conservation actions for the subspecies, like for example rodent control on the islets where Shags nest.

Check out below a short video dedicated to our efforts.

Placing GPS loggers on Shags


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