Great Skua
© Beth Clark

Seabird Species


These smart, predatory seabirds are notoriously aggressive

The seven species of Skuas (genus Stercorarius) spread across both hemispheres – all of which, except the Chilean Skua, are migratory. These large birds have an average wingspan of 1.2m and are notoriously aggressive.  

These pelagic birds feed mostly by kelptoparasitism – snatching prey caught by other birds.  

During the breeding season, they often scavenge a wide range of foods, including the eggs and young of other birds. 

In The Seabird Tracking Database:
Colonies: 12
Tracks: 170
Points: 86498
Data range: 2006 – 2015
Data holders: 10
Species Tracked

Spotlight species: Brown Skua

Brown Skua
© Ana Carneiro

The Brown Skua (Stercorarius antarcticus), has a complicated taxonomic history, with some scientists believing this seabird is actually composed of two or three distinct species. It has been extensively tracked, with 5,216 tracking locations in the Seabird Tracking Database, and its subsequent distribution mapped to the subantarctic and Antarctic zones. Interestingly, scientists have reported that Brown Skuas can identify individual humans, which could imply that they are very intelligent (Lee et al. 2016). 

Please view this page on a desktop computer to see our interactive species colony map.

Tracked colonies of Skuas

Use the map below to explore seabird colonies around the world.

Thanks to our data contributors: Aevar E Petersen; Børge Moe; Ellen Magnusdottir; Jacob Gonzalez-Solis; Johannes Lang; Niels Martin Schmidt; Olivier Gilg; Peter Ryan; Rob van Bemmelen; Robert W Furness