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Conservation status: Green

The pomarine skua is a large seabird, nearly as big as a herring gull. It has long spoon-shaped tail streamers. There are two colour forms: dark - birds are all dark brown with small white flashes on the wings; light - birds have a pale breast and a dark cap on their heads. It does not breed in the UK, but is a passage migrant in both spring and autumn. It winters off the coast of West Africa.



Latin name

Stercorarius pomarinus


Skuas (Stercorariidae)

Where to see them

In spring, best looked for from seawatching place on the English south coast, Outer Hebrides and Shetland. In autumn, best looked for from seawatching places on North Sea coasts.

When to see them

Between late April and May, and between August and November.

What they eat

Lemmings on the breeding grounds; otherwise, fish and other birds.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*