1157. Buffon's Skua.
Stercorarius parasiticus (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 226 (1766) ; (Gould), B. of E. v. pl. 442 ; Dresser, viii. p. 481, pl. 612, fig. 1 ; Saunders, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxv. p. 334 ; id. Manual, p. 693 ; (Lilford), vi. p. 77, pl. 35 ; S. longicaudus, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. xxii. p. 157 (1819) ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 81 ; Tacz. P. O. Sib. O. p. 1059 ; Ridgway, p. 23 ; L. crepidata (nec. Gmel.), Naum. x. p. 534, pl. 274 ; S. buffoni, Boie, Isis, 1822, p. 562 ; (Hewitson), ii. p. 508, pl. cxliii. fig. 1 ; Seebohm, B. Jap. Emp. p. 289.
Labbe, a longue queue, French ; Labbo coda-lunga, Ital. ; Kleiner Raubmowe, German ; Kleinste Jager, Dutch ; Lille Kjove, Dan. ; Fjeldjo, Norweg. ; Fjallabb, Swed. ; Skaiti, Haskil, Lapp. ; Tunturi-raiska, Finn.
Male ad. (Lapland). Differs from S. crepidatus in being smaller, the crown, nape, and sides of head glossy blackish brown, the yellow on the cheeks much brighter, the upper parts ashy grey, the middle tail-feathers much longer, and the two first primaries only with white shafts ; bill plum¬beous at the base, otherwise black ; legs plumbeous, with large black patches on the feet ; iris dark brown. Culmen 1.15, wing 11.5, tail 13.0, the middle feathers 8.1 longer than the lateral ones, tarsus 1.5 inch.
Hab. The Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and America, migrating south in the autumn and winter as far as the Straits of Gibraltar ; of rare occurrence in the Mediterranean ; the Siberian coasts of the Arctic Ocean ; Kamchatka and the Commander and Kurile Islands, migrating south in winter, and has once occurred as far south as between the Sandwich and Philippine Islands. In America it occurs in winter south to Florida and California.
In habits it does not differ from the preceding species, and like it is bold and fearless. During the breeding season at least, it feeds on lemmings, mice, insects, and to a large extent on crowberries. Its cry is described as being a loud dismal shriek, i-i-i-ah, je-ah, je-oh, je-oh. It breeds in colonies in the large marshes and moors in the high north, not far from water, the nest being a mere depression in the ground, some¬times lined with a few dry grass-bents, and the eggs, 2 in number, are usually laid in June, and are similar in appearance to those of the Arctic Skua, but as a rule greener in tone and subject to considerable variation. In size they measure about 2.10 by 1.43.
The sexes of the birds included in the present genus do not differ ; the young birds are brownish with the upper tail-coverts and under parts barred and the back varied with rufous and brown ; those of S. pomatorhinus and S. parasiticus are darker than those of S. crepidatus, but S. parasiticus is always dis¬tinguishable by having the shafts of the two first primaries only white. The young in down of all three species are brown, those of S. pomatorhinus pale sooty brown with a rufous tinge, those of S. crepidatus sooty brown above, paler below, and those of S. parasiticus are much paler, being greyish brown above and below.
1157. Stercorarius parasiticus
1157. Buffon's Skua.