Heres a bit of information about the Great/Brown Skua. This is a bird I had never seen before visiting South Africa, and getting pretty close to the Arctic. Below are a few photos that were shot off the coast of South Africa, near shark alley in 2013.
Coloration: Dark brown overall with paler, often golden streaks, especially on the nape; bright white ‘flashes’ above and below the wings. Sexes similar; juvenile darker.
Diet: Mostly fish, either stolen from other birds or collected from the sea; also smaller gulls, waders and auks, and their eggs and chicks; baby rabbits; and carrion.
Breeding: Pairs for life and nests singly or in widely spaced colonies. Nest is a shallow scrape lined with grass. In May lays two eggs, incubated for 29–30 days; chicks fed by both parents until they fledge at about 44 days old.
Habitat: Breeds on damp moors and sandy lava plains close to the coast; often travels far from land during non-breeding season, foraging over open ocean.
Status: Uncommon; world population estimated to be 48,000 breeding pairs.
Lifespan: Usually 15 years; oldest known individual lived for 32 years.
Photo credits: Geoffrey Green.
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