Skua at Red Rocks Ridge

February 15th, 2010 at 5:00 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

A skua is a sizable predatory bird, usually feeding on penguin chicks and their eggs. Several skuas we encountered at Red Rocks Ridge were nesting – getting too close to their chicks (about 40 feet as I discovered) resulted in raucous calls from the parents, followed by them taking flight and dive bombing the intruders (me, in a couple of cases). I kept them at bay until I could get further away by keep my tripod a bit higher than my head. They never made physical contact, however.

Two skua wait for feeding opportunities

Two skua wait for feeding opportunities

A skua with its chick (at left) - well colored for camouflage

A skua with its chick (at left) - well colored for camouflage

Skuas fight over a baby penguin carcass in a three-way match

Skuas fight over a baby penguin carcass in a three-way match

Skuas squabble over scraps

Skuas squabble over scraps

 

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