Subantarctic skuas are members of the Charadriiformes order. Outside the breeding period, seabirds stay out at sea, close to their food source. But while breeding they need dry land to nest, lay eggs and care for their chicks. Travelling from the nesting site to gather seafood takes time and energy. Skuas and giant petrels solve the problem by breeding close to seal, penguin, or other seabird colonies, becoming predators and scavengers. This subantarctic (or brown) skua is feeding on a dead fur seal pup on the Antipodes Islands. Subantarctic skuas breed on Stewart Island, the Chathams and the subantarctic islands. Their colonies are small, relative to the size of the penguin or other colonies they depend on for food.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Tim Higham
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