South Polar Skua | Catharacta maccormicki

Roberts Birding Information: South Polar Skua

The South Polar Skua is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Laridae bird family group which includes birds such as Typical Shrikes.

The description for the South Polar Skua (Latin name Catharacta maccormicki) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Catharacta maccormicki can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 311 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 433. You will find a picture of the South Polar Skua on page 416.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the South Polar Skua between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The South Polar Skua has a height of 53 cms and weighs around 1350 gms. The head is coloured grey, brown while the bill is coloured blue. The Catharacta maccormicki has a grey coloured throat, black legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Catharacta maccormicki has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey, brown.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is blue.

Legs are black.

Throat is grey.

Back is brown.

South Polar Skua Feeding Habits ...

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird is a well known scavenger and rarely kills its own prey.

South Polar Skua Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

You can see the South Polar Skua bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds.

The South Polar Skua is a very rare bird that can only be seen out at sea following fish vessels. It can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The South Polar Skua is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.