Identification of Arctic Skua

The Birder's Market | Resource | Birds of Britain and Europe ID Guide | Skuas | Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus |  Identification of Arctic Skua

Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus L41-46CM

Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus L41-46CM

Roughly the size of Common Gull Larus canus.Distictly falcon-like harrying terns and gulls to rob them of food.Occurs in both pale and dark phases, however pale birds are commoner in the north of the range.The moderately long tail is highlighted by the central pointed feathers, conspicuous on all but juvenille and moulting birds.Arm and hand are similar in length - wings pointed.Arctic skuas attack their prey with a low flight , suddenly rising with spectacular twists and terns as they persue terns and gulls,forcing them to drop their food, but rarely attacks the bird itself, unlike both Pomarine and Great Skua.Pale morph adult birds show a dark cap, a yellowish tint to the hindneck, a dark underwing and hindbody which meets the white underbody in a sharp 'clean' fasion.Usually shows a varying breast band which is paler than the dark cap.

Flight Identification of the SkuasFlight Identification of the Skuas
showing four species of skua
click for a larger image...

Arctic Skua Dark Phase photographed by Svenni

Recommended reading


The Skuas

The Skuas
Robert W.Furness.Hardback
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The Birder's Market | Resource | Birds of Britain and Europe ID Guide | Skuas | Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus |  Identification of Arctic Skua

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