BIRDS OF ICELAND : Stercorarius skua, Great Skua

Stercorarius skua synonym Catharacta skuaGreat skuas are known best for stealing prey (fish) of other birds like gulls, puffins, fulmars, terns, etc. The great skuas are the most ferocious and will even attack larger gulls like the great black-backed gull and gannets. They will chase these other birds when they have caught fish just until they regurgitate the catch. However they also hunt fish themselves as well as eggs and chickens. In American English they are also known as "jaegers" a Dutch/German name meaning hunter. In German though skuas are known as "Raubmöwe" meaning robbing gulls, where in Dutch they are called "jagers". In comparison to the other skuas (see arctic skua - next in list) the great skua is less slender and has a short tail. As such it resembles a large brown gull. Characteristic are the white spots on the wing. They are a result of white colored basis' of the hand-pinfeathers. A large proportion of the Atlantic great skuas breed on Iceland, mainly in southern Iceland (the Skeiðararsandur coastal sand plains region). In low numbers they can be seen all around the coast.

A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise
Other Gulls and Gull-related species

Other Gulls and Gull-related species

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Natural History of Iceland Site  in Dutch

Natural History of Iceland Site  Dutch