South Polar Skua
The South Polar Skua (Stercorarius maccormicki), is a species of seabird that is found on the Antarctic coasts. It is migratory and winters at sea in the Pacific Indian and Atlantic Oceans. In the eastern North Atlantic Ocean it is replaced by the Great Skua. It was formerly known as the MacCormick’s Skua as its binomial was named after the naval surgeon Robert McCormick, who collected the type specimen.
This is a large Skua which is nearly 21 inches long. It has a massive barrel chest and white wing flashes that are noticeable even from a distance. Its flight is direct and powerful. It is hard to distinguish it from the closely related Great Skua and other large Skuas in the southern hemisphere. Adults are gray-brown above and whitish-pale brown below. The contrast between the head and body makes it easy to separate from similar species. Juveniles and darker morphs are even more difficult to distinguish from their relatives.
The diet is mainly fish, which is often obtained by stealing from other birds. It will also attack and kill other seabirds. This pirate-like behavior is common and takes place throughout the year. It breeds along the Antarctic shore and the female lays two eggs in November and December.