Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
A common breeding bird near the coast over the whole island group. Usually seen singly or in pairs, but groups of up to six birds can be seen together and then often during a ceremonial display flight. Steals food, mainly from Arctic Terns, Kittiwakes and auk species. Probably more than 1000 pairs breed.
Features: 37-44 cm (in addition central tail feathers of summer adult are 5-8 cm), 440-700 gram. ♂=♀, but the female is slightly larger. Most birds on Svalbard are of the pale phase (white underparts with a clearly marked dark band on the breast). Entirely dark individuals are rarer and form a maximum of five percent of the population. The dark ones are most often paired to a pale bird. Has several different calls, of which the cries during display flight, often in ceremony with a neighbouring pair, are loud and long-lasting.
Breeding: Usually breeds near the coast and mainly solitarily (single pairs). Groups of breeding birds occur on Bjørnøya. Usually builds the nest on dry ground with vegetation. On damp ground the nest is built on tussocks or other higher sites.