Stercorarius parasiticus


Physical characteristics: Some Arctic skuas are entirely brown, while others have a dark gray head, white neck and belly, and dark back and wings.

Geographic range: Arctic skuas are found in far northern coastal areas, near the North Pole, during the breeding season. They spend the winter in the Southern Hemisphere in coastal areas.

Habitat: Arctic skuas breed on tundra, treeless plains found in artic regions, or grasslands. During the nonbreeding season, they occupy ocean areas close to land.

Diet: Arctic skuas eat lemmings and the eggs and chicks of other seabirds.

Behavior and reproduction: Arctic skuas are diurnal, active during the day. They are often found with other birds, particularly alcids (birds in the family Alcidae), gulls, and terns, while breeding and searching for food.

Arctic skuas and people: Arctic skuas are sometimes shot by humans who believe they damage sheep and other livestock.

Conservation status: Arctic skuas are not considered threatened at this time. ■

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