- Long-tailed Skua
image size =230px
name = Long-tailed Skua
status = LC | status_system = IUCN3.1
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
genus = "
species = "S. longicaudus"
binomial = "Stercorarius longicaudus"
binomial_authority = (Vieillot,
The Long-tailed Skua, "Stercorarius longicaudus", is a
seabirdin the skuafamily Stercorariidae.
This is the smallest of the skuas at about 38cm length, excluding the elongated central tail feathers of the summer adult, which can add another 20cm or so.
This species breeds in the high Arctic of
Eurasiaand North America, with major populations in Russia, Alaskaand Canadaand smaller populations around the rest of the Arctic. It is a migrant, wintering in the south Atlantic and Pacific. Passage juvenile birds sometimes hunt small prey in ploughed fields or golf-courses, and are typically quite fearless of humans.
They nest on dry
tundraor higher fells laying two spotted olive-brown eggs. On the breeding grounds they can be heard making yelping and rattling sounds. Outside of the breeding season they spend most of their time over open ocean and have a harsh "kreeah" cry. This birdfeeds mainly on lemmings, and numbers fluctuate with the food supply. On migration, Long-tailed Skuas are more likely to catch their own food, and less likely to steal from gulls and terns than larger species.
This species is unmistakable as an adult, with grey back, dark primary wing feathers without a white "flash", black cap and very long tail. Adults often hover over their breeding territories. Juveniles are much more problematic, and are difficult to separate from
Arctic Skuaover the sea. They are slimmer, longer-winged and more tern-like than that species, but show the same wide range of plumage variation. However, they are usually colder toned than Arctic, with greyer shades, rather than brown.
* Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
* [http://www.oiseaux.net/oiseaux/photos/labbe.a.longue.queue.html Oiseaux] Photo, plates
* [http://www.bsc-eoc.org/avibase/species.jsp?lang=EN&id=661E191DFCADFAA1&ts=1220370463849&sec=summary Avibase]
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