Pomarine Skuas or Pomarine Jaegers

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The Pomarine Skuas (Stercorarius pomarinus) - known as Pomarine Jaegers in North America - breed in the far north of Eurasia and North America; and migrate to winter at sea in the tropical oceans.


Description / Identification

The Pomarine Skuas have a white wing flash. The two central feathers of breeding adults are elongated, spoon-shaped, and twisted from the horizontal.

The Pomarine Skua occurs in three color morphs (genetic mutations):

Light-morph adults have a brown back, a mostly white under plumage, and dark primary wing feathers except for the white "flash". The head and neck are yellowish-white except for the black crown.

Dark-morph adults have a dark-brown plumage.

Intermediate-morph adults have a dark upper plumage and a paler under plumage, head and neck.

Juveniles:

Immature birds look like adults. They resemble the Arctic Skua.

Similar Species:

Pomarine Skuas resemble the Arctic Skuas, but are larger, broader-winged and less falcon-like.

Pomarine Skuas are larger than Common Gulls


Breeding / Nesting

Pomarine Skuas nest on Arctic tundra and islands. The average clutch consists of 2 - 3 olive-brown eggs that are placed in a grass-lined depression on the ground.

They are very protective of their nest sites and will initiate aggressive aerial attacks against the heads of humans or other intruders that approach the nest.


Calls / Vocalizations

Pomarine Skuas emit harsh chattering and which-yew calls.


Diet / Feeding

Pomarine Skuas mostly feed on lemmings (small rodents), other rodents, offal (= entrails and internal organs of butchered animals), scraps and small birds. They will kill birds up to the size of Common Gull.

They will also rob gulls, terns and even the larger Gannets of their catches.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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