Great Skua (Stercorarius skua)
Great Skua (Stercorarius skua). Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on October 19th 2017.
Taken at Farmoor, Oxon., on October 19th 2017.
(1/160th sec at f9. Click image for larger version. © David Hastings)


L: 50 - 58cm; WS: 125 - 140cm

The Great Skua is a large, stout, brown bird roughly the size of a Herring Gull. It is an aggressive pirate of the seas, deliberately harrassing birds as large as Gannets to steal a free meal. It also readily kills and eats smaller birds such as Puffins.

It breeds on northern Scottish islands, also in Norway and Iceland. Birds spend the winter further south in the Atlantic.

Its breeding habitats are rocky islands and damp, elevated, coastal moors.

Adults aggressively defend their nests against all intruders.

It has green status on the UK list. Around 10000 pairs breed in the UK.


19-May-2019 : Little Minch, Scotland (1)
19-Oct-2017 : Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon (1)