Animalia > Chordata > Aves > Charadriiformes > Stercorariidae > Stercorarius > Stercorarius maccormicki

Stercorarius maccormicki (South Polar Skua)

Synonyms: Catharacta maccormicki

Wikipedia Abstract

The south polar skua (Stercorarius maccormicki) is a large seabird in the skua family Stercorariidae. An older name for the bird is MacCormick’s skua, after explorer and naval surgeon Robert McCormick, who first collected the type specimen. This species and the other large southern hemisphere skuas, together with great skua, are sometimes placed in a separate genus Catharacta.
View Wikipedia Record: Stercorarius maccormicki

EDGE Analysis

Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0) 
 Unique (100)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0) 
 Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 3.46091
EDGE Score: 1.49535


Adult Weight [1]  2.97 lbs (1.35 kg)
Birth Weight [3]  89.4 grams
Female Weight [1]  3.13 lbs (1.42 kg)
Male Weight [1]  2.82 lbs (1.28 kg)
Weight Dimorphism [1]  11.3 %
Breeding Habitat [2]  Coastal cliffs and islands, Coastal marine, Pelagic
Wintering Geography [2]  Widespread Oceans
Wintering Habitat [2]  Pelagic
Diet [4]  Carnivore (Vertebrates), Piscivore
Diet - Endothermic [4]  20 %
Diet - Fish [4]  80 %
Forages - Ground [4]  50 %
Forages - Water Surface [4]  50 %
Clutch Size [3]  2
Global Population (2017 est.) [2]  11,000
Incubation [5]  29 days
Maximum Longevity [7]  23 years 6 months
Migration [6]  Intercontinental
Wing Span [5]  4.4 feet (1.35 m)


Name Countries Ecozone Biome Species Report Climate Land
Clipperton Island shrub and grasslands France Neotropic Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands  
Scotia Sea Islands tundra United Kingdom Antarctic Tundra    

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Aleutian Islands Biosphere Reserve 2720489 Alaska, United States    
California Coast Ranges Biosphere Reserve 153447 California, United States  
Cape Hatteras National Seashore II 21476 North Carolina, United States
Coorong National Park II 121235 South Australia, Australia
Farallon National Wildlife Refuge IV 352 California, United States
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve II 366714 British Columbia, Canada
Olympic Biosphere Reserve II 922805 Washington, United States
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve II 137900 British Columbia, Canada
Palmer LTER Site Long Term Ecological Research   Antarctica    
Point Reyes National Seashore II 27068 California, United States
Redwood National Park II 77867 California, United States
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area V 38440 California, United States

Prey / Diet

Aptenodytes forsteri (Emperor Penguin)[8]
Chaenocephalus aceratus (Scotian icefish)[8]
Daption capense (Cape Petrel)[8]
Deschampsia antarctica (Antarctic hair grass)[9]
Electrona antarctica (Lanternfish)[9]
Electrona carlsbergi (Electron subantarctic)[8]
Euphausia superba (Antarctic krill)[10]
Fulmarus glacialoides (Southern Fulmar)[8]
Gymnoscopelus braueri (Lanternfish)[8]
Krefftichthys anderssoni (Anderson's lanternfish)[8]
Leptonychotes weddellii (Weddell Seal)[8]
Mirounga leonina (Southern Elephant Seal)[8]
Oceanites oceanicus (Wilson's Storm-Petrel)[8]
Pagodroma nivea (Snow Petrel)[8]
Pagothenia borchgrevinki (Bald notothen)[11]
Pleuragramma antarctica (Antarctic silverfish)[12]
Polytrichum alpestre[9]
Protomyctophum choriodon (Lanternfish)[9]
Protomyctophum normani (Norman's lanterrnfish)[8]
Protomyctophum tenisoni (Lanternfish)[8]
Pygoscelis adeliae (Adelie Penguin)[8]
Thalassoica antarctica (Antarctic Petrel)[8]

Prey / Diet Overlap

Competing SpeciesCommon Prey Count
Aphrodroma brevirostris (Kerguelen Petrel)1
Aptenodytes forsteri (Emperor Penguin)4
Aptenodytes patagonicus (King Penguin)1
Arctocephalus gazella (Antarctic Fur Seal)4
Balaenoptera acutorostrata (Minke Whale)1
Daption capense (Cape Petrel)2
Eudyptes chrysolophus (Macaroni Penguin)2
Fulmarus glacialoides (Southern Fulmar)1
Halobaena caerulea (Blue Petrel)1
Lagenorhynchus cruciger (Hourglass Dolphin)1
Larus dominicanus (Kelp Gull)1
Leptonychotes weddellii (Weddell Seal)1
Lobodon carcinophaga (Crabeater Seal)1
Macronectes giganteus (Southern Giant Petrel)1
Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whale)1
Mirounga leonina (Southern Elephant Seal)1
Oceanites oceanicus (Wilson's Storm-Petrel)1
Pachyptila belcheri (Slender-billed Prion)1
Pachyptila desolata (Antarctic Prion)1
Pachyptila turtur (Fairy Prion)1
Pagodroma nivea (Snow Petrel)3
Phoebetria palpebrata (Light-mantled Albatross)1
Procellaria aequinoctialis (White-chinned Petrel)1
Pygoscelis adeliae (Adelie Penguin)2
Pygoscelis antarcticus (Chinstrap Penguin)1
Pygoscelis papua (Gentoo Penguin)1
Sterna vittata (Antarctic Tern)1
Thalassarche chrysostoma (Grey-headed Albatross)2
Thalassarche melanophris (Black-browed Albatross)1


Parasitized by 
Haffneria grandis[13]
Tetrabothrius mawsoni[13]

Range Map



Attributes / relations provided by
1Higgins, PJ and Davies, SJJF (Eds). (1996). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand & Antarctic Birds. Vol. 3, Snipe to Pigeons. Oxford University Press, Melbourne
2Partners in Flight Avian Conservation Assessment Database, version 2017. Accessed on January 2018.
3Terje Lislevand, Jordi Figuerola, and Tamás Székely. 2007. Avian body sizes in relation to fecundity, mating system, display behavior, and resource sharing. Ecology 88:1605
4Hamish Wilman, Jonathan Belmaker, Jennifer Simpson, Carolina de la Rosa, Marcelo M. Rivadeneira, and Walter Jetz. 2014. EltonTraits 1.0: Species-level foraging attributes of the world's birds and mammals. Ecology 95:2027
5del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
6Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 01, 2010 at
7de Magalhaes, J. P., and Costa, J. (2009) A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8):1770-1774
8Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
9Diet of the south polar skua Catharacta maccormicki and the brown skua C. antarctica lonnbergi at Cierva Point, Antarctic Peninsula, Silvina L. Malzof, Rubén D. Quintana, Polar Biol (2008) 31:827–835
11The role of notothenioid fish in the food web of the Ross Sea shelf waters: a review, M. La Mesa, J. T. Eastman, M. Vacchi, Polar Biol (2004) 27: 321–338
12Food of emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) in the western Ross Sea, Antarctica, Y. Cherel and G. L. Kooyman, Marine Biology (1998) 130: 335-344
13Species Interactions of Australia Database, Atlas of Living Australia, Version ala-csv-2012-11-19
Ecoregions provided by World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF). WildFinder: Online database of species distributions, ver. 01.06 WWF WildFINDER
Images provided by Google Image Search
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access