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Bird name:

Great Skua

Stercorarius skua

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Skuas (Stercorariidae)

BTO 2

NX

BTO 5

GRESK

Euring 5

05690
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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

UK Conservation Status


Amber Status

European Conservation Status


Conservation Description


In the UK, Isle of Man, and Ireland, the Great Skua breeds in parts of northern Scotland, and winters in marine waters throughout. It has an "Amber" status because of recent population declines.

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Great Skua: Herring Gull sized heavy looking seabird with rather stout, hooked bill. Grey-brown above and below with light brown highlights. Black-brown cap and dark grey flight feathers with white patch at base of primaries. Some birds lack dark cap and are paler.


Range and Habitat

Great Skua: Summer breeder and migrant visitor. Breeding birds are found in northern coastal Scotland, the Western and Northern Isles. On passage may be seen along most UK & Irish coasts as the birds make their way to winter grounds along the Spanish and African coasts. Inhabits rocky islands and moorland.

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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, which is a Shetland name of unknown origin. It is also known as the Catharacta Skua.
  • It will directly attack and kill other seabirds, even those larger than itself.
  • Like other skuas, it will fly at the head of a human or any other intruder approaching its nest.
  • A group of skuas are collectively known as a "shishkab" of skuas.

RELATED BIRDS

RANGE MAP


FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

David Lukas

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
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.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.

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ITIS CodesX

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at http://www.itis.gov/advanced_search.html. You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

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Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX