Alternative names: Southern Skua, Subantarctic Skua, Antarctic Skua, Falkland Skua
- Stercorarius antarcticus
Size: 52-64 cm (20½-25¼ in), wing 35.5-40.2 cm, wingspan 126-160 cm, females on average are larger in most measurements, most noticeably in wing length.
- Brown overall plumage, variable from light to dark
- Pale streaking above
- Dark cap (often reduced to a mask in light morph birds)
Other races are larger, darker and less streaked above. Juveniles uniformly dark.
This species has been placed in the genus Catharacta with the other large skuas (Sibley & Monroe, 1993; Clements, 2000).
Older texts and some current field guides will treat Brown Skua as a part of Great Skua.
There are 3 subspecies:
- S.a. antarcticus breeds in the Falkland Islands, and south-east South America: Smallest, most heavily streaked.
- S.a. hamiltoni breeds on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island: Larger, darker, narrower streaks.
- S.a. lonnbergi breeds on the Antarctic Peninsula and Subantarctic Islands: Like S. a. hamiltoni but larger.
The subspecies lonnbergi has been treated as a full species Stercorarius lonnbergi by some authorities.
Pelagic. Inland (during breeding season)
Oct-Nov onwards, on flat grassy areas or short grass heaths. Nest is an unlined or sparsely so, scrape. 1-2 eggs, incubated 28-32 days, young leave nest within 1-2 days and fledge in 40-50 days. Sexual maturity at six years.
Scavenger at refuse tips, predates penguin eggs and chicks and burrow nesting seabirds at night.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- BF member observations
- Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved May 2018)
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2023) Brown Skua. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 28 November 2023 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/Brown_Skua
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