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Australian Wildlife

  Brown Skua (Stercorarius antarcticus)





Brown Skua | Stercorarius antarcticus photo
Great Skua, Antarctica. (From U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Sea, Antarctica)

Image by U.S. Coast Guard - License: Public Domain.    (view image details)



BROWN SKUA FACTS

Description
The Brown Skua is a large seabird similar in shape to a gull. It has dark brown plumage with white patches on the wings that are visible when the bird is in flight. It has a sturdy hooked bill that is dark brown in colour. The eyes are black and legs are dark brown or black. Females are similar to males but slightly larger and heavier. It is also known as Catharacta antarctica.

Other Names
Antarctic skua, Subantarctic skua, Southern great skua, Southern skua

Size
length 60 cm, wingspan about 150 cm

Habitat
open ocean, coastal areas around sub Antarctic islands and exposed headlands

Food
fish, birds, bird's eggs, mammals, carrion

Breeding
The nest is a hollow in heath or grassland. The female lays,1 to 3 eggs. Nests singly or in small colonies

Range
breeds in the sub Antarctic and Antarctic and moves further north outside breeding season. In Australia they breed only on Heard Island and Macquarie Island. They also breed on sub Antarctic islands off New Zealand

distribution map showing range of Stercorarius antarcticus in Australia

Map is from Atlas of Living Australia website at http://biocache.ala.org.au licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License




Classification
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Laridae
Genus:Stercorarius
Species:antarcticus
Common Name:Brown Skua

Relatives in same Genus
  Long-tailed Jaeger (S. longicaudus)
  South Polar Skua (S. maccormicki)
  Arctic Jaeger (S. parasiticus)
  Pomarine Jaeger (S. pomarinus)