Wednesday 6 December 2023

Wild Bird Wednesday 593 - South Polar Skua

This bird is a South Polar Skua (Stercorarius maccormicki) and I only know this because much better birders than me (tenuously) identified the bird in the field and made a confirmed ID based on the pictures take on the boat! 

This is a rare sighting, and as this species 'shows little interest in vessels' I suppose we were very lucky to get such good views.

I am no expert, but as far as I can tell, one of the key ID features that separate this species from the more frequent Brown Skua is the contrast in colour between the underwings and the body.  The South Polar Skua also has a 'finer bill and smaller head'.

Its at times like this I am thankful for experts!

I have to say it was an impressive bird - having the bulk and attitude you would expect from a bird that lives over the Souther Ocean.

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  1. Thank you for sharing that. Rare and interesting birds, Stewart aloha!

  2. Hari OM
    It's a beauty, Stewart! I particularly like the shot with the Albatross photobomb! YAM xx

  3. I have arrived in Cairns and getting over jet lag. These are great shots Stewart especially in a moving boat. Thanks for hosting and I hope you have a good week ahead

  4. Those certainly are subtle differences. The bird seems more "muscular" than many other ocean-faring species.

  5. What a great sighting! A beauty. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I see....
    by reading this post, I know how to distinguish between two different species of birds....
    Thank you for sharing beautiful photos

  7. Well done! Great series of shots.

  8. Les skua sont des oiseaux très intelligents. Très belle série.