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18 November 2014
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Scotland The Wild

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Wildlife Map fish_invert Great Skua
"The pirates of the sky", the great skua or bonxie is a large and aggresive bird.
Latin Name: Catharacta skua

Scottish Name:
Bonxie. Fasgadair Mor Tuilleag.

From the Norn word, 'bunksi,' meaning dumpy bird. Great one that picks off the vermin.

Statistics: Body length 53-58cm, wingspan 132-140cm, weight 1.2-1.6kg.

Physical Description: The bonxie is a large, long-billed skua, with broad wings and a short tail. The plumage is dark brown, with white on primary wing feathers.
Scottish Distribution: Great skuas are found in Shetland, Orkney (mainly Hoy), and Handa.

Habitat: Favours open terrain, often wet, grassy moorland with high sea cliffs.

Diet: Bonxies feed mainly on fish, and occasionally birds. The great skua attacks breeding birds, forcing them to drop or disgorge fish, but also preys directly on adults and young of a wide range of seabirds.

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