Stercorarius parasiticus (*)
Stercorarius parasiticus (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Parasitic Jaeger, also known as the Arctic Skua or Parasitic Skua, (Stercorarius parasiticus) is a seabird in the skua family Stercorariidae.
This species breeds in the north of Eurasia and North America, with significant populations as far south as northern Scotland. It nests on dry tundra, higher fells and islands, laying up to four olive-brown eggs. It is usually silent except for newing and wailing notes while on the breeding grounds. Like other skuas, it will fly at the head of a human or fox approaching its nest. Although it cannot inflict serious damage, it is a frightening and painful experience. It is a migrant, wintering at sea in the tropics and southern oceans.
In the British Isles, they breed in Shetland and Orkney, the Outer Hebrides, Sutherland, Caithness, and some islands in Argyll.
This bird will feed on rodents, small birds and insects but also robs gulls and terns of their catches. Like the larger skua species, it continues this piratical behaviour throughout the year, showing great agility as it harasses its victims.
Juveniles are even more problematic, and are difficult to separate from Long-tailed Skua over the sea. They are bulkier, shorter-winged and less tern-like than that species, but show the same wide range of plumage variation. The flight is more falcon-like. However, they are usually warmer toned than Long-tailed, with browner shades, rather than grey.
* BirdLife International (2004). Stercorarius parasiticus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
Source: Wikispecies, Wikipedia: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License