The skuas are seabirds in the family Stercorariidae. The smaller skuas are called jaegers in North America.
Skuas nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants.
Outside the breeding season they take fish, offal and carrion. Many are partial kleptoparasites, chasing gulls, terns and other seabirds to steal their catches; the larger species also regularly kill and eat adult birds, up to the size of Great Black-backed Gulls. On the breeding grounds they commonly eat lemmings, and the eggs and young of other birds.
They are in general medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They have longish bills with a hooked tip, and webbed feet with sharp claws. They look like large dark gulls, but have a fleshy cere above the upper mandible. They are strong, acrobatic fliers.
Skuas are related to gulls, waders, auks and skimmers. The skuas are often split into two genera with only the smaller species retained in Stercorarius, and the large species transferred to Catharacta, but there is no real genetic basis for this separation. Pomarine Skua is in fact more closely related to Great Skua than it is to either Arctic or Long-tailed Skuas.
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