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Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
Identification: Fast, skillful flier with pointed wings and pale primary flashes. Complex ID. Different phases and similar species make identification of skuas 'not for beginners'. On the breeding grounds the short, pointed central tail feathers of the adults allow a safe identification of this species. Elsewhere on migration care needs to be taken, especially with juveniles.
Information: Alternative name: Parasitic Skua. Distribution: summer visitor, breeds on the northern Isles. Regular all around the coast in spring and autumn.
Similar species: Pomarine Skua: is less common, it is heavier than Arctic Skua with a distinct keel. Adults have twisted spoon shaped central tail feathers. Immatures required fine details of plumage to get a safe ID. Long-tailed Skua: are uncommon and lack the extensive pale primary flashes, they have less distinct flashes near the leading edge of the wing. Adults have long central tail feathers.