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December 17, 2008
The Blue-Eyed Shag is one of many bird species that reside in Antarctica. Its distinct physical characteristics include a brightly colored red, purple or blue eye ring. Individuals typically live between 15 to 20 years. Occasionally, while foraging, groups called “rafts” are formed. Comprised of hundreds of members, individuals help each other by herding fish towards one another. While diving, these birds reach depths ranging from 82 to 197 feet (25 to 60 m). Each dive lasts approximately 4 minutes. As a monogamous species, partners mate for life. Breeding season continues for two months: October to November. Hundreds of breeding pairs temporarily form colonies. On average, females lay a single clutch consisting of 3 eggs. Both sexes incubate the eggs for five weeks. The Blue-Eyed Shag constructs an elaborate nest made from various materials: mud, excrement, seaweed and grass.