April 6, 2018
Brown Skua, A Gladiator of Birds
- as seen by -Claudio Campagna
The brown skua (Stercorarius antarcticus) is a robust, heavy, fast, versatile, alert, agile, and smart gull-like marine bird. If I were a bird, I would keep my distance from it.
The skua’s displays remind me of the traits of gladiators: pride, self-awareness, and confidence. A page of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology provides an interesting description of these foragers: “Skuas are notoriously brutish creatures, both because of their catholic diets and the piratic methods by which they obtain food.”
The picture (above) was taken at Isla Pingüino, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. There are just a few thousand individuals of this species distributed over large parts of the Atlantic Ocean. I have seen these seabirds in person which merits a celebration.