Tag Archives: Stercorarius parasiticus

Arctic Skuas with their offspring

Kjói – Arctic skua – Stercorarius parasiticus

This summer we came upon these Arctic Skuas in Mýrar, West Iceland, a pair with their offspring.  One of the pair was of the pale morph and the other the dark morph. Looking after their young one seemed quite a handful,  keeping them busy chasing him him. As we watched them one of the pair, the white morph, stayed in its place and the others kept coming back. Not so different with us humans.

Arctic Skua and its prey

Kjói – Arctic skua – Stercorarius parasiticus

The Arctic Skua is rather common all around the country, especially by the shore although it can also be seen in the highlands. It is known to steal eggs and food from other birds such as the Arctic Tern but  also preys on smaller birds.

Last summer we witnessed an Arctic Skua catch a young Redshank (Tringa totanus). The parents tried to attack the Skua but were overpowered and the Skua swallowed to young Redshank.

It was a terrifying scene witnessing the helpless parents try to save their young own without success.  The pictures tell their story.

Gets its name from stealing food

The Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) – dark morph

The Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) gets its name from stealing food from other birds. Doesn’t sound nice, does it? It is a seabird and also goes by the name of Arctic Skua. We think that is a better name.

The Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) – light morph

The Arctic Skua is a migratory bird in Iceland and arrives  here in early May. It can be found throughout the country. It makes its nest in sandy soil even in the interior although it is a seabird that stays mostly near the sea .