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Books about Skuas

The books are listed in order of publication date with the most recent at the top.

For more books about seabird in general see the;

Seabirds page


Family: Stercorariidae

In the UK

Arctic Skua
Stercorarius parasiticus

Great Skua
Stercorarius skua

Occasional UK visitors

Pomarine Skua
Stercorarius pomarinus

Long-tailed Skua
Stercorarius longicaudus

Other skuas

Chilean Skua
Stercorarius chilensis

South Polar Skua
Stercorarius maccormicki

Brown Skua
Stercorarius antarcticus


Skua and Penguin: Predator and Prey

Euan Young

Studies In Polar Research

Cambridge University Press


"Areas of barren rock and scree around the edge of Antarctica provide a breeding ground for two of the continent's most well-known species of bird: the south polar skua and the Adélie penguin. This book considers the relationship between these two species, taking as its study site Ross Island. Through detailed observations of the foraging ecology of the skua, the traditional view that skuas are totally dependent on penguin eggs and chicks for food is challenged. In addition, studies of the impact of skuas on penguin breeding and the extent to which the skua breeding cycle is functionally related to that of the penguin provide further evidence to suggest that the two species occur together independently as a consequence of limited breeding space, rather than as a result of a distinct predator-prey relationship."

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Seabirds: A Natural History

Tony Gaston



"This title takes an in-depth look at the lives of the world's true seabirds - the penguins, tubenoses, peleceaniids, gulls, terns, skuas and auks. These birds all spend much of their lives foraging at sea, but the range of ways that they are adapted to exploit the marine environment and balance this with the need to return to land to breed, is astoundingly diverse. They range from the albatrosses, which take their prey from the surface of the water and are capable of efficient gliding flight for hours on end, to the penguins which have dispensed with flight altogether and have developed a morphology and physiology which enables them to dive deeper and for longer than any other birds. The various problems of being a bird which forages at sea, and the array of solutions evolution has produced to counter them are the theme of this book, which should fascinate everyone with an interest in pelagic birds."

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Breeding birds of Cape Wastochnia, Pyasina Delta, Taimyr, Russia, in 1994

Holmer Vonk

WIWO Report 52

Working Group International Waterbird and Wetland Research


"As expected from observations made in earlier years, the breeding season of 1994 was a peak year in lemming densities. Lemmings normally show a three-year cycle in abundance. With the last peak year at Cape Wastochnia being 1991, this pattern also occurred in the study area. Arctic Fox was also present with one occupied burrow at the eastern border of the study plot. As a result of the lemming densities, the typical lemming predators Snowy Owl, Pomarine Skua and Rough-legged Buzzard were breeding in the area. The breeding of some species, at least White-fronted Goose, also seems restricted to lemming peak years in the area. Most non-predatory species also occurred in 1993. Breeding densities were comparable in both years. The density of lemmings thus not seems to influence the number of birds which start breeding. However, in this differences between methods and observers should be taken into account. Densities found in 1994 should be considered as the absolute minimum of the numbers actually present and might actually give some underestimation for the smaller wader species."

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Bird Study, Volume 46, Issue 2

British Trust for Ornithology


Main articles:

  • Evaluating the success of translocating Red Kites Milvus milvus to the UK - I.M. Evans, R.W. Summers, L. O'toole, D.C. Orr-Ewing, R. Evans, N. Snell & J. Smith
  • Factors affecting the numbers and breeding success of Stone Curlews Burhinus oedicnemus at Porton Down, Wiltshire - C.E. Bealey, R.E. Green, R. Robson, C.R. Taylor & R. Winspear
  • Use of set-aside land in winter by declining farmland bird species in the UK - D.L. Buckingham, A.D. Evans, A.J. Morris, C.J. Orsman & R. Yaxley
  • Colonization patterns at Rook Corvus frugilegus colonies: implications for survey strategies - L.R. Griffin
  • Rapid population growth of Great Skuas Catharacta skua at St Kilda: implications for management and conservation - R.A. Phillips, S. Bearhop, K.C. Hamer & D.R. Thompson

Skuas and Jaegers: A Guide to the Skuas and Jaegers of the World

Klaus Malling Olsen & Hans Larsson

Pica / Yale University Press


"This title examines in detail all the identification problems associated with this difficult group. The taxonomy of the world's seven species of skuas has long been a subject of debate, compounded by the difficulty of distinguishing between the four catharacta species in the field."

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The Skuas

Robert W. Furness

Illustrations: John Busby



"Many birdwatchers may never have seen a Skua; those who have will most probably have vivid memories of one or other species flying powerfully past a headland or twisting and diving in pursuit of its piratical intentions towards a food-laden seabird-or, perhaps more memorable still, of themselves taking evasive action from the power-diving irate Skua whose territory they have unwisely invaded. The full classification of the Skuas is still debated, but Dr Furness of the Applied Ornithology Unit, Glasgow University, favours six species, of two genera, with five sub-species, based on current knowledge of his own long and dedicated field studies and research."

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Ecology of Pomarine, Parasitic, and Long-Tailed Jaegers in Northern Alaska

William J. Maher

Pacific Coast Avifauna Number 37

Cooper Ornithological Society


From the introduction:

"Collectively, the three species of jaegers are the most abundant, widespread, and hence most significant avian predators in northern Alaska. They are the pomarine jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus), the parasitic jaeger (S. parasiticus), and the long-tailed jaeger (S. longicaudus). The three differ in size, but all are ground-nesters on flat or rolling tundra, and they overlap in distribution, habitat, and other features of their ecologies. The parasitic jaeger nests in northern Alaska from the Brooks Range north to the Arctic Ocean. The pomarine jaeger nests only in coastal areas. The long-tailed jaeger nests regularly from the Brooks Range north to the southern part of the coastal plain. The long-tailed and pomarine jaegers are usually allopatric; the parasitic jaeger is sympatric with both species, and occasionally, all three are sympatric. This study of the ecology of these three jaegers deals primarily with the density of their breeding populations, their fluctuations in time and space, and their food habits. All three species are considered as actual or potential competitors, and study of the degree of niche overlap among them has been an important objective of this work."
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Ecology of the Great Skua on Foula

R.W. Furness

Brathay Exploration Group


Based on research carried out in the Summer and Autumn of 1973.

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The Arctic Skua: A study of the ecology and evolution of a seabird

Peter O'Donald

Illustrations: Robert Gillmor

Cambridge University Press


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Bird Study, Volume 6, Issue 2


Main articles:

  • The Origin of Winter Visitors to the British Isles - M. J. Goodacre
  • Changes of Mating Within a Colony of Arctic Skuas - Kenneth Williamson
  • Woodlark Territories - C. J. O. Harrison & J. Forster
  • An Immigration of Winter Visitors - R. K. Cornwallis
  • The Storm Petrel Colony on Roaninish - D. R. Wilson

Shetland Sanctuary: Birds On The Isle Of Noss

Richard Perry

Faber and Faber


A study of the bird life on the Shetland Isle of Noss, including great skuas, arctic skuas, gannets and guillemots.

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T.E. Buckley

Editor: H. E. Dresser

Educational Series No. 16

Society for the Protection of Birds


A 4 page guide that covers the Great Skua, Pomatorbine Skua, Richardson's Skua and Buffon's Skua. Provides a brief description and information on distribution, numbers, food, characteristics, protection, plus one and a half pages of general remarks.

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Catalogue Of The Gaviae And Tubinares In The Collection Of The British Museum

Catalogue Of The Birds In The British Museum, Volume XXV

Gaviae (Terns, Gulls and Skuas): Howard Saunders

Tubinares (Petrels and Albatrosses): Osbert Salvin

8 colour plates: J. Smit

Printed By Order Of The Trustees

Sold by: Longman & Co.; B. Quaritch; Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.; and at the British Museum (Natural History)



"It has been a fortunate circumstance that for the preparation of the present Volume the cooperation of Mr. H. Saunders and Mr. 0. Salvin could be secured, who for many years past have made the Birds of the families of Gulls and Petrels the special subject of their respective studies. As also the collections formed by these gentlemen have been incorporated with the series in the British Museum, the latter possesses of both these groups a collection unrivalled as to its intrinsic value, if not also as to the number of species and specimens. According to the lists given, this Collection consists now of Gaviae 115 and Tubinares 109. Among the Tubinares only, some of the species (15) are not represented in the Collection. Beside the many friends and correspondents who have rendered material assistance in the preparation of this Volume by the loan or gift of specimens, and who "will be enumerated in the introductory remarks of the Authors, I have to refer specially to the authorities of the United States National Museum and to the Hon. W. Rothschild, of whom the former sent important types for comparison, whilst the latter placed the whole of his rich collection at the disposal of Ihe Authors. I have acceded with pleasure to the request of the Director of the Museum to see through the press this and the two remaining Volumes for which the arrangements were made during my term of office. Finally, this would seem to be an appropriate place to pay a tribute to the memory of Henry Seebohm, by whose death, on November 26th, Ornithology has lost a most earnest and ardent student and the British Museum one of its most generous friends and benefactors. For the past fifteen years he took a deep interest in the growth and arrangement of the Collection of Birds in the British Museum, contributing, without stint, either from his own Collection or by special purchase, any specimens that were required to complete the Museum series or to aid in the preparation of the Catalogue. In the latter work he took an active part as the author of the Fifth Volume, which treated of the Warblers and Thrushes. After presenting his immense Collection of Eggs, and incorporating it with that of the Museum, he undertook and completed a Manuscript Catalogue of the whole. By his Will he conferred his last benefit on the Museum, bequeathing to the Trustees the entire Collection which at the time of his death was still in his possession."
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Last updated August 2011