The marine shag is a graceful bird with a slim, medium-sized body and gray-blue feathers. It boasts bright yellow-orange feet and a long, slender beak. During breeding season, its appearance is enhanced by elegant bright green facial skin, blue eye-rings, and two thick white stripes that curve from each eye to the side of the neck. In contrast, its non-breeding plumage is less vivid, with no crests, a faint neck stripe, and yellowish facial skin. Younger birds are paler and browner without any head or neck markings. This bird is native to New Zealand, where it prefers to inhabit the coastal waters surrounding the South island and parts of the North island. It can be identified from the Pitt island Shag by its distinctive neck stripe and the absence of a purple patch in front of the eye. Other shags that resemble this species have pink feet instead of yellow.