Pomarine Skua


Pomarine Skua

Taxobox
name = Pomarine Skua
status = LC
status_system = IUCN3.1


regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Aves
ordo = Charadriiformes
familia = Stercorariidae
genus = "Stercorarius"
species = "S. pomarinus"
binomial = "Stercorarius pomarinus"
binomial_authority = Temminck, 1815
The Pomarine Skua, "Stercorarius pomarinus", known as Pomarine Jaeger in North America, is a seabird in the skua family Stercorariidae. Its relationships are not fully resolved; its mitochondrial DNA is most similar to the Great Skua [Blechschmidt et al., 1993] , but from morphology and behavior, it is closer to the lesser skuas (such as the Arctic Skua). The most likely explanation is extensive hybridization between the Great and one species of lesser Skuas, which resulted in a hybrid population that eventually evolved into a distinct species, the Pomarine Skua; or alternatively between the Pomarine and a species of Southern Hemisphere skua, with the Great Skua being the hybrid offspring, perhaps appearing as recently as the 15th century [Blechschmidt et al., 1993; Furness and Hamer, 2003] . Judging from characteristics of the skeleton and behavior, the former seems more likely, as the Pomarine Skua shares several similarities with the "Catharacta" Skuas, while the Great Skua does not seem much different from its Southern Hemisphere relatives.

The mtDNA difference between the Pomarine and the Great Skua is one of the smallest between any two vertebrate species yet analyzed, being less than the variation found between different individuals of wide-spread species. The apparent capability for hybridization has led to the abolition of the separate genus "Catharacta" for the Southern Hemisphere and Great Skuas.

This species breeds in the far north of Eurasia and North America. It nests on Arctic tundra and islands, laying 2-3 olive-brown eggs in grass lined depressions. Like other skuas, it will fly at the head of a human or other intruder approaching its nest. Although it cannot inflict serious damage, the experience is frightening and painful. It is a migrant, wintering at sea in the tropical oceans. It has many harsh chattering calls and others which sounds like "which-yew".

This bird feeds on lemmings and other rodents on the breeding grounds and also robs gulls, terns and even Gannets of their catches; it will also kill birds up to the size of Common Gull. Like most other skua species, it continues this piratical behaviour throughout the year, showing great agility as it harasses its victims.

-like than Arctic Skua, but show the same wide range of plumage variation. The flight is more measured than that of the smaller species.

Light-phase adult Pomarine Skuas have a brown back, mainly white underparts and dark primary wing feathers with a white "flash". The head and neck are yellowish-white with a black cap. Dark-phase adults are dark brown, and intermediate phase birds are dark with somewhat paler underparts, head and neck. All phases have the white wing flash, which appears as a diagnostic double flash on the underwing. In breeding adults of all phases, the two central tail feathers are much longer than the others, spoon-shaped, and twisted from the horizontal.

Juveniles are even more problematic to identify, and are difficult to separate from Arctic Skua at a distance on plumage alone.

Etymology

It is from the French "pomarin", shortening scientific Latin "pomatorhinus", from Greek, meaning "having a covered nose". This refers to the cere—which the Pomarine Skua shares with the other skuas.

References

* Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
*Cited by cite journal | author=DeBenedictis, Paul A. | title=Skuas | journal=Birding | volume=XXIX | issue = 1 | year=1997 | pages=66–69
*
*


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Look at other dictionaries:

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