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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 17:35 EDT

Pomarine Skua

The Pomarine Skua (Stercorarius pomarinus), is a species of seabird that breeds in the far north of Eurasia and North America. Its nesting habitat is Arctic tundra and islands. It is migratory and winters at sea in the tropical oceans. In North America this bird is known as the Pomarine Jaeger.

It is difficult to identify this species as it is similar to the Arctic Skua and it exists in three distinct color morphs or phases. Pomarine Skuas are larger than Common Gulls. They are much bulkier, broader-winged and less falcon-like than Arctic Skua, but show the same wide range of plumage variation. The flight is more measured than that of the smaller species. Light phase adults have a brown back, mainly white underparts and dark primary wing feathers. The head and neck are yellow-white with a black cap. Dark-phase adults are dark brown, and intermediate phase birds are dark with somewhat paler underparts, head and neck.

The diet of the Pomarine Skua is lemmings and other rodents that are available on the breeding grounds. It will also steal catches from gulls, terns and gannets. It will attack and kill birds for their food as well. It does this year round and show great agility as it harasses its victims. When threatened it will fly at the head of a human or other intruder causing some pain. Its many calls are harsh.
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Pomarine Skua