Definition of skua in English:



  • A large brownish predatory seabird related to the gulls, pursuing other birds to make them disgorge fish they have caught.

    Family Stercorariidae: genera Catharacta (four larger species) and Stercorarius (three smaller species, North American name: jaeger)

    • ‘One potential explanation - that choice of mates for female skuas at this colony is more limited - can probably be discounted.’
    • ‘The abundance of gulls, terns, skuas, guillemots and puffins has long been a prime tourist attraction, as well as of global wildlife significance.’
    • ‘Similar anomalous patterns have been discovered in the skuas (Stercorariidae).’
    • ‘In other parts of the world, jaegers are known as skuas.’
    • ‘If you are visiting Ocean City, take a birdwatching trip on a charter boat to see shearwaters, skuas, Wilson's storm-petrels, and Atlantic puffins.’
    • ‘Beautiful weather, magnificent scenery and almost tame Arctic skuas make this a memorable excursion.’
    • ‘Set in Antarctica, it has no human characters but focuses on the natural environment of the frozen continent, especially penguins and skuas.’
    • ‘We were quite low on food, and our depot was about twelve kilometers away as the skua flies.’
    • ‘Victims of egg-plundering skuas, which resemble large rapacious gulls, squawk indignantly.’
    • ‘Votier says he's seen a skua catch a bird and hold it underwater to drown it.’
    • ‘They concluded that reversed size dimorphism in skuas and jaegers was not attributable to breeding role specialization.’
    • ‘A third of the world's arctic skuas, big fierce birds nicknamed Bonxies, nest on the great hills of the island.’
    • ‘The working theory is that tourists scare off the predatory skuas.’
    • ‘We had a week of short walks, drawing, filming and photography with snow petrels and gawky looking skua birds as our neighbours.’
    • ‘The walk would be about seven kilometers as the skua flies from our base camp to the top of Gorgon's Head.’
    • ‘Perhaps hobbies follow prey south to tropical Africa in the same manner that skuas follow terns.’
    • ‘And then the slow decline would set in, and then little Foula would be abandoned to the squabbling skuas and the wheeling puffins.’
    • ‘One species bucked the general trend: the south polar skua, which hunts mainly penguin chicks and eggs.’
    • ‘A recent study found that a five per cent increase of birds in the skua diet would result in an annual loss of thousands of other seabirds.’
    • ‘Only a few runts, chicks whose parents had perhaps fallen prey to a toothy leopard seal, are left behind to feed the skuas.’


Late 17th century: modern Latin, from Faroese skúvur, from Old Norse skufr (apparently imitative).