“Blond” phase is much paler on head and underparts than dark phase. Flight strong and swift; harasses other seabirds. Dark jaegers may lack tail points, but skuas’ wings are wider, with more striking white patches.
Listen to the sound of South Polar Skua
[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/S/South Polar Skua.mp3]
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||140||cm||wingspan max.:||160||cm|
|size min.:||50||cm||size max.:||55||cm|
|incubation min.:||24||days||incubation max.:||34||days|
|fledging min.:||49||days||fledging max.:||59||days|
Ranges widely at sea, over both warm and very cold waters. Appears far off North American coast where there are concentrations of other birds from which to steal food. Almost never seen from shore on this continent. Nests in Antarctica, on islands and ma
inland, on barren ground.
6 years; birds usually have same mates and same nest sites every year thereafter. In aggressive display near nest, both wings are raised together over back, head extended forward while bird gives harsh calls.
Nest: Site is on ground. Nest is simple scrape in soil or moss; often begun by male and completed by female.
Eggs: 2, sometimes 1. Olive to brown, blotched with darker brown. Incubation by both sexes, but female does more. Incubation period 24-34 days, usually 28-29.
Young: Both parents feed young, by regurgitation. Young may leave nest soon after hatching, wander in immediate vicinity. Although both eggs usually hatch, usually only one young survives to fledging. Age at first flight 49-
known, but feeds mostly on fish while at sea. On breeding grounds, some feed mainly on the eggs and young of penguins, and on carrion around penguin colonies.
Forages at sea by plunging into water from flight, or by seizing items while sitting on surface. Often steals food from other seabirds: may grab a shearwater or gull with its bill and shake the other bird violently to make it disgorge its catch.
South polar skuas are fierce predators, often stealing fish from other birds and actively preying on penguin chicks and eggs. The largest South Polar Skua colony in the world is found at Cape Crozier in the Ross Sea
polar skuas are fierce predators, often stealing fish from other birds and actively preying on penguin chicks and eggs. The largest South Polar Skua colony in the world is found at Cape Crozier in the Ross Sea
From Antarctic nesting grounds, moves far to the north in both Atlantic and Pacific. Perhaps most common off southern California in late spring, off northern California in early fall, and off New England in early summer, but details still poorly known.