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   Image courtesy of Jean Pennycook

From: Jean Pennycook
Cape Royds, December 22, 2006

Skua Attack

The invading bird in this photograph is called a skua. Skuas fly over the nesting areas all day long looking for opportunities to carry off a meal. They too have chicks to feed and rely on the penguin colony for first eggs, and then chicks to supply the food source. Nests that are up against rocks like the ones in this picture have a better chance of surviving attack. Skuas can only come in from one direction and are frequently repelled. Nests on the flat are exposed from all directions and Skuas are usually successful raiding nests in these areas. The nests at the edge of the colony are also more vulnerable to successful attack and we see new empty nests everyday where once there were eggs and chicks.

Penguin Science

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Postcards from the Field: Antarctica

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