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Skuas Stercorariidae (4)

(Banner Photo: Arctic Skua (above) and Great Skua (below) by Jim Wilson)


Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus
Scarce passage migrant in spring and autumn in variable numbers.

Distribution: breeds in arctic Russia, with Europe accounting for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. (Birdlife International)

Arctic/Parasitic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
Uncommon passage migrant in spring and autumn in variable numbers, with most usually in autumn. Small numbers remain offshore in summer.

Distribution: a widespread breeder in coastal areas of northern Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. (Birdlife International)

Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus
Scarce passage migrant.
46 county records involving 57 birds up to the end of 2013.

First county record was an immature bird found dying between Kilbrittain & Kinsale on the 22nd August 1960.

Birds have been seen at the following locations: Ballycotton, Between Kilbrittain & Kinsale, Brown Island (Cork Harbour),
Cape Clear Island (majority of the records), Dursey Island, Galley Head, Mizen Head, Old Head of Kinsale, Seven Heads, Toe Head.

Most records involved single birds or very small groups and where age was give most were adults.

All records were between May and October with most seen in May and September.

Distribution: breeds in Greenland, Svalbard, Fennoscandia and arctic Russia, with Europe accounting for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. (Birdlife International)

Great Skua Stercorarius skua
Common passage migrant, mostly in autumn, with smaller numbers remaining offshore through the summer. Very scarce in winter but almost annual records.

Distribution: breeds only in northernmost Europe, with the entire global breeding range confined to the region. Has begun to breed in Ireland in recent years.