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Common name Great skua
Scientific name Stercorarius skua
Type Seabirds
Status Migrator

Large seabird (approx 55 cm or 21.5 in) with an also large wingspan (approx 140 cm or 4.5 ft). Similar to a large gull with dark brown underparts and upperparts. It has two white visible spots in the anterior part of the wing (at the height of the carpal bone, which is why they are known as carpal spots) that stand out a lot in flight. Dark and hooked bill, short tail and broad, pointed wings. Heavy-looking flight with regular flaps, both at water level and at a certain height.


Marine environment

Where it lives

Atlantic and Cantabrian species of pelagic habits. It occupies areas far from the coast and meadows and cliffs during the breeding season.

How it lives

Wintering bird in the province also present during its migration. Colonial. The Great Skua makes a laying from May of two eggs. Scavenger and opportunistic eating habits. It is very aggressive and practices kleptoparasitism: it steals food from other seabirds. This species also consumes eggs and chicks from other birds. Specialist in chasing and attacking gannets, gulls and razorbills, harassing them until they regurgitate or release their food.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Little frequent species but that can be watched in Malaga almost anywhere on the coast, from the bay of Malaga to Punta de Calaburras (Mijas). It rarely approaches the beach, so its observation usually occurs offshore and requires powerful optical instruments.

Curious facts

The term "Skua" comes from the popular name with which these "birds of prey" are known in the Faroe Islands. The Latin name incorporates this popular name and also that of "Stercorarius" (from the Latin "stercus", "excrement"). When the species was described, reference was made to the fact that its food was the one that in other birds, persecuted by the skuas, was to be converted into excrement after digestion if it was not taken away by these birds.

Similar birds
Routes where it can be observed
Wintering Summer Resident Migration