This species is from 46 to 67 cm (18 to 26 in) long, 110 to 138 cm (43 to 54 in) in wingspan and 540-920 g in weight. It is similar to the Arctic Skua. There exists three morphs. Pomarine Skuas are larger than Common Gulls. They are much bulkier, broader-winged and less falcon-like than Arctic Skua. Light-morph adults have a brown back, white underparts. The head and neck are yellowish-white with a black cap. Dark morph adults are dark brown, and intermediate morph birds are dark with somewhat paler underparts, head and neck. All morphs have a white wing flash, which appears as a diagnostic double flash on the underwing. In breeding adults of all morphs, the two central tail feathers are much longer than the others, spoon-shaped, and twisted from the horizontal.

Habitat and Distribution

This species breeds in the far north of Eurasia and North America. It is a migrant, wintering at sea in the tropical oceans.


This bird feeds on fish, carrion, scraps, smaller birds up to the size of Common Gull and rodents, especially lemmings. It robs gulls, terns and even Gannets of their catches.


It nests on Arctic tundra and islands, laying 2-3 olive-brown eggs in grass lined depressions. Like other skuas, it will fly at the head of a human or other intruder approaching its nest. Although it cannot inflict serious damage, the experience is frightening and painful.

Calls and Songs

It has many harsh chattering calls and others which sounds like which-yew.