great skua
Resembles a dark, heavily built immature gull; feeds by pirating gulls and other seabirds, also by scavenging at fishing boats. Find out more about the nature and wildlife outside your window. In aggressive display near nest, both wings are raised together over back, head extended forward while bird gives harsh calls. Identification of this skua is only complicated when it is necessary to distinguish it from the closely related large southern-hemisphere skuas. This is a bird that shows no fear, and that is fiercely protective of its nest on its breeding grounds. They are pirates of the sea: chasing other seabirds, such as gannets and gulls, and stealing the fish they have caught. Resembles a dark, heavily built immature gull; feeds by pirating gulls and other seabirds, also by scavenging at fishing boats. Breeds locally on moorland of northern islands and coasts, where aggressive near nests. Great Skua. They will often obtain fish by robbing gulls, terns and even northern gannets of their catches. Great Skua Stercorarius skua. Read more advice about what to do if you find a bird that needs help. The parrots that build "bird condominiums" : The, The record holder for speaking most words: the common. Great skuas show little fear of humans – anybody getting close to the nest will be repeatedly dive-bombed by the angry adult. It breeds in Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands and the Scottish islands, with a few on mainland Scotland. It will also directly attack and kill other seabirds, up to the size of Great Black-backed Gulls. Nests in loose colonies. A few non-breeders may be present off North America at any season. Some authorities still regard the Great Skua as conspecific (of, or belonging to, the same species) with some of these southern skuas, and as a group they have sometimes been separated in the genus Catharacta, although currently this is not commonly followed. The herring gull size, massive barrel chest and white wing flashes of this bird are distinctive even at a distance. It is roughly the size of a herring gull. Turkey). Audubon protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. In Britain, it is sometimes known by the name Bonxie, a Shetland name of unknown origin.. Distribution / Range. Otherwise lives at sea, but may be seen from shore during windy conditions during migration periods. Great skuas measure 50–58 cm (20–23 in) long and have a 125–140 cm (49–55 in) wingspan. Please contact them directly with respect to any copyright or licensing questions. [13], Great skua at North Sea island Hallig Hooge / Germany, "Bonxie" redirects here. They eat mainly fish, birds, eggs, carrion, offal, rodents, rabbits, and occasionally berries. We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy, The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. This is a large skua 50–58cm in length with a 125–140cm wingspan. As well as a free gift and magazines, you’ll get loads of ideas for activities to try at home. The great skua was described from the Faroe Islands and Iceland by the Danish zoologist Morten Thrane Brünnich in 1764 under the binomial name Catharacta skua. Stercorarius skua. Photo: Dick Dickinson/Audubon Photography Awards, Adult. Are the Trump Administration's Environmental Rollbacks Built to Last? It is sometimes said to give the impression of a common buzzard. Thank you. According to a study conducted…, Throughout history, Crows, Ravens and other black birds were feared as symbols of evil or death.…, These splendidly plumaged birds are found in certain areas of Southern Mexico and Central America…, It has already been recorded that the Common Poorwills can enter extended periods of hibernation as…, Smallest Bird in Existence: Which is it: the Bee or the Bumble Bee Hummingbirds? Great Skua: Herring Gull sized heavy looking seabird with rather stout, hooked bill. LC Least Concern. It mainly eats fish which is taken from the surface of the sea or from other birds. UK wintering is the number of individuals present from October to March. Following the floods this winter, watch how one area is using nature as a natural protector. Now Scientists Know Why. It uses material from Wikipedia.org ... Additional information and photos added by Avianweb. Disperses widely at sea, south to West Africa and Brazil. The great skua is an aggressive pirate of the seas, deliberately harassing birds as large as gannets to steal a free meal. Please note: Any content published on this site is commentary or opinion, and is protected under Free Speech. Like most other skua species, it continues this piratical behaviour throughout the year, showing less agility and more brute force than the smaller skuas when it harasses its victims. Illustration © David Allen Sibley. UK breeding is the number of pairs breeding annually. See our ideas to keep you connected to nature during coronavirus, From our regular emails to your favourite social media, there’s more than one way to keep in touch with nature. SC037654, We use cookies on our website to help give you the best online experience. When given the opportunity, skuas and jaegers prey on other seabirds. Usually solitary at sea, although concentrations may occur where food is abundant. [8][9] The genus name Stercorarius is Latin and means "of dung"; the food disgorged by other birds when pursued by skuas was once thought to be excrement. Nest (built by both sexes) is shallow depression lined with bits of plant material. Grey-brown above and below with light brown highlights. In Britain, it is sometimes known by the name Bonxie, a Shetland name of unknown origin. Resplendent Quetzals - The Rare Jewel Birds of the World. The great skua (Stercorarius skua) is a large seabird in the skua family Stercorariidae. They have a short, blunt tail, and a powerful flight. So what is it? It mainly eats fish which is taken from the surface of the sea or from other birds. The great skua's call is a harsh hah-hah-hah-hah; quacking and croaking noises have also been heard. The Great Skua, Stercorarius skua, is a large seabird in the skua family Stercorariidae. Many ornithologists now believe either that the great skua originated as a hybrid between the pomarine skua and one of the southern-hemisphere species,[12] presumably as a result of vagrancy or migration across the equator by the southern species, or that the pomarine skua evolved from hybridization of the great skua and one of the small Arctic species (see pomarine jaeger for details). Skua Information... Skua Photo Gallery. [11] Some authorities still regard the great skua as conspecific with some of these southern skuas, and as a group they have sometimes been separated in the genus Catharacta, although currently this taxonomy is not commonly followed. Names (36) Species names in all available languages. It breeds on coastal moorland and rocky islands, usually laying two spotted olive-brown eggs in grass-lined nests. It mainly eats fish which is taken from the surface of the sea or from other birds. It also readily kills and eats smaller birds such as puffins. The sexes are similar in appearance. Nest site is on ground, in open area. Get out, get busy and get wild! Photo: Howard Arndt/Audubon Photography Awards, Great Egret. Distinguishing this skua from the other North Atlantic skuas (Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Long-tailed Skua) is relatively straightforward.

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