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Bird name:

Pomarine Skua

Stercorarius pomarinus




Skuas (Stercorariidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Tundra, Arctic regions

Breeding Type:


Egg Colour:

Smooth, slightly glossy and buff, olive or light brown with dark reddish-brown spots and flecks.

Number of Eggs:

2 - 3

Incubation Days:

25 - 27

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

Shallow hollow in moss.

Nest Location:

On the ground




Pomarine Skua: Hefty, falcon-like seabird with long central tail feathers rounded at the tip. Dark grey upperparts. Wings have white at base of the primaries. Black cap and face, grey-pink bill with black tip, and pale yellow on side of the head and nape. White neck, breast, and belly with dark band on breast. Black vent. Dark phase adults also occur and are all dark grey except for white in wing and bill. Juveniles vary from pale brown to dark brown, can have brown-grey heads, barring above and below, and always barred on the rump and vent.

Range and Habitat

Pomarine Skua: Passage visitor to the UK & Ireland. Birds visit the coastline in mid-spring and in autumn as they journey between the Arctic and West Africa. Most likely to be seen at sea watching places on the North Sea and in the Western Isles. Birds remain at the coast while on passage.

Breeding and Nesting

Pomarine Skua: Breeding and nesting are very dependent on lemming population density. Both parents build nest, a shallow scrape on the ground shaped by parents' feet and breasts. Both parents incubate eggs and feed lemming pieces to young, which can leave nest within days but stay nearby to be fed.

Foraging and Feeding

Pomarine Skua: During the summer on the tundra it mainly feeds on lemmings but will also take eggs and birds. In winter along the coast, it feeds on fish and birds. It also scavanges and sometimes steals food.


Pomarine Skua: Silent except on breeding grounds; utters a sharp "which-yew" or high-pitched "week-week."

Similar Species

Pomarine Skua: In the dark summer morph, the Arctic Skua is lighter and more brown than the Pomarine Skua, and the pale summer morph is also lighter overall, with much less distinct yellow plumage on the nape. Great Skua lacks the yellow patch entirely, has no white underparts, but does have white plumage in the primaries.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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.
The upper front part of a bird.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
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.
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.


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 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.

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