Sub Antarctic Skua, the Whale bird
The Sub Antarctic Skua or brown Skua’s (Catharacta Antarctica) distribution is the Sub Antarctic, at the Falkland Islands, Scotia Arc and the Antarctic Peninsula to about 65 degrees South. They are known as opportunistic feeders that will predate, scavenge and use klepto-parasitism. Klepto-parasitism means that the Skua’s harass other animals until they give up their food. Either the food they just caught or regurgitate their food like they would do to their chicks. Their breeding season is during November and December, and by laying the egg late in the season they can predate on other specie’s eggs and chicks. They normally have their nest close to penguin and cormorant’s colonies and as parents they are aggressive, dive bombing any animals coming close to their nests. The Skua’s are often persecuted for eating the penguin’s eggs and chicks, but the world population is small, fragile and needed, so at their breeding sites they are getting protection.
The Skua’s are seen as “whale birds”. Normally 6-8 weeks after the first Skua’s are seen in Plettenberg Bay the whales arrive from Antartica. This is not proven since they can be seen all year round along the South African coastline, but most of then arrive after the breeding season is over and the chicks leave the nest in March-April.
The Ocean Blue and ORCA Foundation Crew