New Zealand's 'Bird of the year' competition was flooded with votes for the shag.

Shag named Bird of the Year in dubious election

Shag named Bird of the Year in dubious election

The animal received more than 300 ''dubious'' votes leading to the bird - which is a species of cormorant - to be given the coveted title.

The seabird all traced to a computer in Australia, all in one evening, which organisers dubbed as ''potentially someone's idea of a joke''.

The conservation group said:''Last night, we had 310 dubious votes for the shag from an I.P. address in Australia.''

Forest & Bird New Zealand spokeswoman Caitlin Carew said they would make sure there would be no more suspicious voting.

She said: ''Honestly, there are better ways to show your love for our native birds. And we're pretty confident nothing will get past our experts, so there's not much point trying.''