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HomeSpits­ber­gen infor­ma­ti­onWild­life → Poma­ri­ne skua

Pomarine skua (Stercorarius pomarinus)

The Poma­ri­ne skua is regu­lar­ly seen in Spits­ber­gen and for many dedi­ca­ted bird­wat­chers, sightin­gs are high­lights of a Spits­ber­gen voya­ge. Sin­ce the Poma­ri­ne skua does not breed on Sval­bard, she is most likely to be found in ear­ly or late sum­mer.

Pomarine skua

Poma­ri­ne skua in flight.

Descrip­ti­on: Medi­um-sized (44-51 cm long, 550-900 g in weight) skua with long tail, that looks like a spoon from the side. The sexes look ali­ke. The plu­mage has a pro­no­un­ced dark-light con­trast, alt­hough the­re is a rare, com­ple­te­ly dark morph. Poma­ri­ne sku­as can be con­fu­sed with the far more com­mon Arc­tic sku­as.

Dark morph Pomarine skua

Dark morph Poma­ri­ne skua.

Dis­tri­bu­ti­on / Migra­ti­ons: Poma­ri­ne sku­as breed in the high Arc­tic of North Ame­ri­ca and Sibe­ria. They spend most of their time at sea. For bree­ding, they come to flat tun­dra are­as near the coast, often near lakes or rivers. Sval­bard is not among­st the main bree­ding are­as, but nevert­hel­ess, Poma­ri­ne sku­as are regu­lar­ly seen around the archi­pe­la­go. During the win­ter they like it warm and move to tro­pi­cal lati­tu­des off west Afri­ca.

Pomarine skua

Poma­ri­ne skua

Bio­lo­gy: Small rodents are the pre­fer­red prey of the Poma­ri­ne skua, which is also the expl­ana­ti­on why they do not breed in Sval­bard, whe­re no natu­ral rodent popu­la­ti­ons occur. The­re, they pre­fer to ste­al food from other birds and take eggs and chicks.

Mis­cel­la­neous: Despi­te not being a bree­ding bird in Sval­bard, the Poma­ri­ne skua is regu­lar­ly seen. Chan­ces are best near the ice edge.

Pomarine skua

Poma­ri­ne skua



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last modification: 2019-03-12 · copyright: Rolf Stange