American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several large predatory sea birds of the genus Catharacta related to the jaeger, especially the great skua.
- n. Chiefly British See jaeger.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A gull-like predatory bird of the family Laridæ and subfamily Stercorariinæ or Lestridinæ, especially Stercorarius or Megalestris catarractes, or M. skua, the species originally called by this name, which has since been extended to the several others of the same subfamily. The common or great skua is about 2 feet long, and of a blackish-brown color intimately variegated with chestnut and whitish, becoming yellowish on the sides of the neck; the wings and tail are blackish, with the bases of their feathers white. The middle pair of tail-feathers are broad to their tips, and project only about 2 inches. A similar skua inhabits southern seas, S. (or M.) antarcticus. The pomatorhine skua, or jäger, S. (or Lestris) pomarinus, is a smaller species, about 20 inches long, and otherwise different. Still smaller and more different skuas are the parasitic, S. (or Lestris) parasiticus, and the long-tailed, S. buffoni, in which the long projecting tail-feathers are acuminate and extend 8 or 10 inches beyond the rest. The skuas are all rapacious marine birds. In the United States the great skua is usually called
sea-hen, and the others are known as marlinspikes and boatswains. A local English name of the great skua is sea-hawk. See arctic-bird, Lestris, and Stercorarius.
- n. Any of various predatory seabirds of the family Stercorariidae that often chase other seabirds to steal their catches.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any jager gull; especially, the Megalestris skua; -- called also
- n. gull-like jaeger of northern seas
- From Faroese skúgvur ("Great Skua"), from Old Norse skúfr. (Wiktionary)
- New Latin, alteration of Faroese *skūvur, from Old Norse skūfr, tassel, seagull. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The skua is only too happy to tell Mumble about his abduction by aliens, while the other birds groan and lament the retelling of a tale they’ve apparently heard too much about.”
“And further, past the valley, over the foothills, the crowds of Emperor penguins, the flocks of skua overhead, and the elephant seals sunning themselves on the rocky shore.”
“Then, in one small part of the angry sea, there was panic as a great skua appeared and harried one young gannet until it dropped to the sea and dived.”
“The skua gulls settled very near us, and the dogs, no doubt taking them for baby seals, were of course ready to break the line of march, and go off hunting, but their keenness soon passed when they discovered that the game had wings.”
“An hour after breaking camp this morning two snowy petrels came sailing over us; a little while later a couple of skua gulls.”
“On Christmas Day we took a holiday, and Lindström prepared a banquet of skua gulls.”
“South Georgia supports a great number of sea birds, including penguin, a large colony of petrel and prions of various other species, along with shags, skua, gull, terns, South Georgia Pipits and Seals.”
“American sheathbill (Chionis alba); south polar skua (Catharacta maccormicki); brown skua (Catharacta lonnbergi); southern black-backed gull (Larus dominicanus); and,”
“First, such reductions are likely to happen most rapidly in species that experience some physiological constraint at their southern range margin, for example, the winter thermal constraint postulated for cloudberry  or the summer thermal constraints postulated for the great skua (Catharacta skua ).”
“As we were leaving this old friend and setting our course as it advised, to our unspeakable astonishment two great birds -- skua gulls -- suddenly came flying straight towards us.”
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Looking for tweets for skua.