Antarctic Skua

Antarctic Skua

Catharacta antarctica

Pictures: Teus Luijendijk

The taxonomy of Catharacta  skuas is another topic of debate. Several taxa exist and these are regarded by some authors as separate species. Wherever you draw the line of species boundary, they all are quite difficult to identify in the field, although more and more literature becomes available.
A bird that popped up over the ship during our crossing of the Drake Passage was at the time thought to be a Brown Skua C. (antarctica) lonnbergi , but after studying the video I made of this bird I think it actually was a Falkland Skua C. (antarctica) antarctica , because of the fairly clearly marked dark cap (and lack of any rusty tinge that would suggest Chilean Skua C. chilensis ).
Another bird shown here is the taxon breeding in the Tristan archipelago, hamiltoni .

   Antarctic (Falkland) Skua  Catharacta (a.) antarctica ;   videograb (20x).
   Drake Passage, 17 March 2002.

   Antarctic (Tristan) Skua  Catharacta (a.) hamiltoni ;   videograb (20x).
   Tristan da Cunha, 2 April 2002.


Copyright ©Teus Luijendijk 2003