August 2nd, 2011

Sighting the Arctic Skua in the Arabian Sea

During my last pelagic birding trip in the Arabian Sea (April first week), we had some great sightings of the Arctic Skua (Parasitic Skua). We did birding in the Mulki Coast of Karnataka and the Kannur Coast of Kerala. The sighting in Mulki was a very brief one just to be able to confirm the sighting but we had some amazing sightings at Kannur. At times, the bird flew quite close to us giving us a very beautiful view of the bird. One of the very interesting behaviour we observed was the Arctic Skuas chasing the Greater Crested Terns for food. It was an action to watch. Whenever we found a flock of Greater Crested Terns, a skua would come and chase them to get the fish they had caught. Once the chase got so intense that the skua would manage to get the fish from the tern, but the fish just slipped from the skua’s beak and the tern managed to come back and pick up the dropping fish. It was amazing to see all of this action in the air.

Arctic Skua

A record shot of Arctic Skua chasing Greater Crested Tern

Two Arctic Skuas chasing a Greater Crested Tern

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