Great Skua

Stercorarius skua

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Skuas and Jaegers (Stercorariidae)

Code 4

GRSK

Code 6

STESKU

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Great Skua is a large seabird which breeds in Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Scottish islands, and occasionally mainland areas of Scotland. The preferred habitat of this species is coastal moorland and rocky islands. During winter months, the Great Skua will migrate to the Atlantic Ocean and North American regions. Diets consist of fish stolen from gulls, terns and Northern Gannets. This species has been known to attack and kill other species of seabirds. It accomplishes this feat by grabbing the bird by the wing while in flight, causing it to fall to sea. The conservation rating for this species is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Great Skua: Large, heavy-bodied seabird, prominent white patch in primary feathers. Body color ranges from a light bleached to dark brown, all have a cinammon wash that makes the bird look red-tinged. Strong direct flight with constant shallow wingbeats. Hugs wave contours or flies up to 150 feet.


Range and Habitat

Great Skua: Breeds in Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands and the Scottish islands, with a few on mainland Scotland. It breeds on coastal moorland and rocky islands. It is a migrant, wintering at sea in the Atlantic Ocean and regularly reaching North American waters. Vagrant to Mediterranean countries.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"gek-gek"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • In Britain, the Great Skua is sometimes known by the name Bonxie, a Shetland name of unknown origin.
  • It will directly attack and kill other seabirds, up to the size of Great Black-backed Gulls.
  • It will fly at the head of a human or other intruder approaching its nest.
  • A group of skuas are collectively known as a "shishkab" of skuas.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Great Skua

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

David Lukas

Artist

David Wenzel

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
PelagicX
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X