|Skua has been listed as a level-5 vital article in Biology, Animals. If you can improve it, please do. This article has been rated as Start-Class.|
- No. 18.104.22.168 15:09, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
This is a scientific entry. A reference to the cartoon "Happy Feet" does not belong here. ScienceMan22.214.171.124 05:34, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
Skuas preying on adult Great Black-backed Gulls?
I posted about this at the science ref. desk and I'll post about it here.
|“||larger species also regularly kill and eat adult birds, up to the size of Great Black-backed Gulls||”|
This is inaccurate, right? I could envision a Skua taking GBB chicks or eggs, or battling with an adult over food - but really, a fully-grown GBB is *bigger* than the largest Skua and every bit as mean-tempered and predatory. As far as I am aware, nothing short of one of the great eagles would even attempt to make a meal out of a healthy adult bird. I'm prepared to accept being wrong on this - but it seems too unlikely a statement to leave in the article unquestioned. --Kurt Shaped Box (talk) 11:05, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
- I'm sure this is true. Great Skua is a fearless bird, which habitually attacks humans on its breeding grounds. Since it will take carrion, the only question is whether it can kill large birds. It has been recorded as killing Grey Heron and lambs, and Hume and Pearson's Seabirds says it knocks "gulls and other birds" into the sea, hammers them to death and disembowels them. Despite not being as large as a GBBG, it is very powerful and agile (it shakes Puffins inside out). I am sure that GBBG has been killed by the skua. I can't find a reliable source, but I remember reading a reputable account of a Great Skua landing on a ship where a GBBG was feeding on scraps, and killing the gull with a single blow of its bill jimfbleak (talk) 14:49, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
- I've read accounts (somewhere!) of GBBGs finishing off the odd sickly newborn lamb here and there - but a Bonxie killing a Grey Heron? That's an impressive feat, considering the size of that bird (and its beak). It would be interesting to know more details about the incident - if the Heron was deliberately hunted and killed for food, or if it died as a result of straying too close to the Skuas' nests and facing the ire of tens of furious mother hens coming at it like feathered chainsaws, for instance. Likewise, the GBBG kill you read about - killed for food, or killed *over* food?
- Oh yeah, whilst I've got your attention on this, have you ever heard anything about GBBGs tearing open the crops of live Puffins in order to get at the fish that they've just swallowed? I'm sure that I read something about that years ago, yet I've been unable to find any mention of it anywhere since... --Kurt Shaped Box (talk) 01:17, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
- Although they routinely eat birds the size of puffins, kittiwakes and petrels, I can’t source that particular behaviour. I sounds very plausible, and fits with the Seabirds description of them disembowelling birds they have knocked into the sea as they float upside-down. Stomach contents and the internal organs are probably the easiest way to a tasty snack, giving the difficulty of tearing the rest of the carcass apart using only the beak, if it is too large to swallow whole. On land, pairs of skuas, like large gulls, will pull a dead or dying bird apart between them, but that’s probably tricky at sea.
- Adelie Penguins are fairly large. Do the Skuas ever hunt cooperatively, I wonder? Or perhaps it's a case of them just killing the sick ones? My knowledge of this family of birds is quite limited. From what I've seen of Skuas with my own eyes (Scots Bonxies), I had believed them to be pretty much 'large gull'-like in their behaviour - i.e. generalistic scavengers/thieves/hunters (in that order).
- Yeah, I've seen gulls pulling apart a pigeon, or a fish, or a piece of whatever before (a whole doner kebab once!) too. I've never been able to decide if they're working together, or if it's just the avian equivalent of two dogs fighting over a bone... --Kurt Shaped Box (talk) 12:18, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
I suspect that it's the latter, at sea they always seem to hunt as individuals. I think that the feeding behaviour depends on location and season - breeding colonies will offer easier targets for predation than elsewhere jimfbleak (talk) 15:33, 23 December 2008 (UTC)