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Great skua

A large and powerful gull-like bird, with a heavy bill, neck, head and body. It tends to be parasitic, chasing other birds until they drop their food. To achieve this, skuas will grab wing tips of large birds, for example gannets, and tip them into the sea. They will also take the young of other birds.

A brave animal, a skua will fiercely defend its nest during breeding season with relentless dives at intruders, including humans, sometimes even making contact with their feet. Skuas will also stand with wings held above the back in a threat posture on the breeding grounds if other birds approach too closely

Only one or two pairs breed in Ireland, one of which is on the North Inishowen coast (Donegal), but they can easily be seen all around the Irish coasts (but best along the West and South coasts) between April and October.

Catch a glimpse

Great skua