1156. ARCTIC SKUA.
Stercorarius crepidatus (Banks), in Cook’s Voy. Hawksworth’s ed. ii. p. 15 (1773) ; Dresser, viii. p. 471, pls. 611, 612, fig. 2 ; Saunders, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxv. p. 327 ; id. Manual, p. 691 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 329 ; S. parasiticus (Bodd, nec. Linn.), Tabl. Pl. Enl. p. 58, No. 991 (1783) ; (Gould), B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 80 ; (Naum.), x. p. 506, Taf. 272, 273 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 1056 ; Ridgway, p. 22 ; S. richardsoni (Swains.), Faun. Bor. Am. Birds, p. 433, pl. 73 (1831) ; (Hewitson), ii. p. 609, pl. cxliii. fig. 2 ; (Gould), B. of E. v. pl. 441 ; Seebobm, B. Jap. Emp. p. 288 ; (Lilford), vi. p. 75, pl. 34.
Labbe parasite, French ; Cagado, Portug. ; Cagalo, Span. ; Labbo, Ital. ; Struntjager, Schmarotzer-Raubmowe, German ; Kleine Jager, Dutch ; Spidshalet-Kjove, Dan. ; Leverjo, Norweg. ; Vanliga Labb, Swed. ; Kalapasko-raiska, Finn. ; Pomornik-tschujeadnui, Russ.
Male ad. (Greenland). Crown and sides of bead to below the eye, back, wings, and tail dark brown, the bead rather paler, the back almost blackish brown ; shafts of outer quills white ; chin, neck all round, and under parts white ; sides and back of neck washed with yellow ; breast and lower throat washed with ashy brown ; crissum and under tail-coverts dark brown ; middle tail-feathers elongated, tapered ; bill lead-blue at base, otherwise blackish ; legs blackish ; iris brown. Culmen 1.5, wing 13.3, tail 8.9, the middle feathers 3.1 longer than the lateral ones, tarsus 1.8 inch. Varieties of this species are not uncommon, which are almost uniform sooty blackish.
Hab. The northern portions of the Old and New Worlds ; Greenland, Iceland, the Faeroes, N. Norway and Sweden, N. Russia, Britain ; in winter south to the Mediterranean and the West Coast of Africa to the Cape ; Northern Siberia, Kam¬chatka, the Commander and Kurile Islands ; in winter south to the Makran and Sind coasts, Australia and New Zealand ; the Arctic regions of North America, south in winter to New York, Illinois, Colorado, and the coast of Brazil.
Like its allies it is a bold, rapacious bird, subsisting chiefly by plunder. It is swift and active on the wing, swims with ease, but does not either dive or plunge. Its cry is plaintive, not unlike the prolonged mew of a cat, and when alarmed it utters a sound between a hiss and a croak. At its breeding places it is exceedingly bold and daring. The nest is a mere hollow in the moss or grass, in which 2 eggs are laid late in May or early in June ; these are greenish grey, greenish stone- colour, or olive-brown in ground-colour, more or less spotted and blotched with purplish grey and deep umber-brown, measur¬ing about 2.17 by 1.57. It nests on moors, peat-bogs, or the grassy tops of sea cliffs, usually several pairs near together.
1156. Stercorarius crepidatus
1156. ARCTIC SKUA.