A global citizen science platform
to discover, share and identify wildlife

Join Project Noah!

Great Skua

Catharacta skua


Skuas are the seabird pirates of the the open seas. Easily recognisable by their large size, sturdy build, brown and white flecked feathers and long, hooked bill. Aggressive birds, will steal food from others as large as gannets. Despite this, I only ever saw them being chased by fulmars!


Rocky coasts with sheer cliffs and the open sea


The guy in the first picture nearly landed on my head! These were taken off one of the Shetland Islands, called Foula. We were sampling at 4am, and the water was eerily still, and HUNDREDS of birds were surrounding the boat. It was incredible. I later found out that "Foula" translated from Old Norse means "bird island", which couldn't have been more apt!

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


Debbie Stewart
Debbie Stewart 6 years ago

Great series Laura!

KarenL 7 years ago

Great series Laura!

That is a super shot Laura

LauraMaria 7 years ago

Thank you both for the comments :) It was a lucky shot, I thought he was going to land on my head haha!

GeetaPande 7 years ago

wow, so nice....

Cheryl Lee
Cheryl Lee 7 years ago

What a gorgeous shot!

LauraMaria 7 years ago

Thanks Ashish, it was quite an amazing morning to find these birds surrounding us! They are pretty cute, I think :D

Ashish Nimkar
Ashish Nimkar 7 years ago

Lovely spotting... Specially like 4th in all pictures.
Great info... Cute bird... Great spotting..!!

LauraMaria 7 years ago

Thank you Eve! Yes, they are indeed amazing, and very bold!

Eve Dosh
Eve Dosh 7 years ago

Wow! awesome pic of an amazing bird :)

LauraMaria 7 years ago

Thank you!

Wild Things
Wild Things 7 years ago

Nice pics specially the first one

LauraMaria 7 years ago

Thank you Luc! Yes I was very pleased with how that first photo came out :) The bird island was amazing!!

LucBertrand 7 years ago

It must have been amazing this " bird island " Laura . I love your photos, they are very impressive. My favorite is the first in full flight ! wow !! :))

Spotted by

Scotland, United Kingdom

Lat: 60.14, Long: -2.08

Spotted on Jul 4, 2011
Submitted on Jul 10, 2011

Related Spottings

Chilean Skuas Great skua (bonxie) Brown Skua Great Skua

Nearby Spottings

Northern Fulmar Gaviota argéntea (European Herring Gull) Foca (Common Seal) Humpback Whale