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Bird name:

Long-tailed Skua

Stercorarius longicaudus

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Skuas (Stercorariidae)

BTO 2

OG

BTO 5

LOTSK

Euring 5

05680
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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

UK Conservation Status


Green Status

European Conservation Status


Not a species of Concern

Conservation Description


The Long-tailed Skua has a large range that includes breeding grounds in Scandinavia, northern Russia, and northern North America. Some birds migrate over land, but most migrates through the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to reach wintering areas in southern parts of these oceans. The Long-tailed Skua breeds on dry tundra and winters on the open ocean. It is believed to have a population large enough to not warrant its inclusion on the IUCN Red List (150,000 to 5,000,000 individuals) and is therefore evaluated as Least Concern.

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BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Long-tailed Skua: Graceful, falcon-like seabird with long, central tail feathers. Dark grey above with black tail and black in wings. Grey belly and vent, white breast and throat. Cheeks, side of neck, and nape pale yellow. Black cap and short, black bill. Flight very agile, graceful, and fast.


Range and Habitat

Long-tailed Skua: Scarce passage visitor to the UK. Visible May to November, rough weather blows birds inland during late summer storms. Can be seen along west coast of Ireland, north coast of Scotland and offshore islands, and south coast of England. Birds breed in the Arctic and winter in Africa.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Bernard Sound

Long-tailed Skua 2

Calls of a couple around their nest.

Long-tailed Skua 3

Alarm calls.

Voice Text

"phew-phew-phew"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Long-tailed Skua is the smallest of the skua family, excluding the elongated tail feathers of the summer adult.
  • Juvenile birds often hunt small prey in ploughed fields and can be fearless of humans.
  • During migration, they are more likely to catch their own food, and less likely to steal from gulls and terns than their larger relatives.
  • A group of skuas are collectively known as a "shishkab" of skuas.

RELATED BIRDS

RANGE MAP

Range Map for Long-tailed Skua

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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BellyX
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
VentX
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
PelagicX
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.

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ITIS CodesX

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at http://www.itis.gov/advanced_search.html. You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

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Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX