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Great Skua
Great Skua
Great Skua sites cared for by the Trust
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Unst & Yell

Unst & Yell

Great Skuas can be found at St Kilda, Unst and Mingulay. More recently, we have also recorded breeding on Canna and Staffa.

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This formidable species has been expanding its range recently with large colonies on St Kilda, Unst and Mingulay.

It has recently been recorded breeding on Canna and Staffa. Over half of the world population breeds in Scotland.


Mainly fish by scavenging and piracy on seabirds. Also preys on smaller seabirds and is believed to be making a serious impact on Leach’s petrel population on St Kilda.

Nest site

Within damp close-cropped grass on moorlands. Shallow scrape in the ground lined with small pieces of grass and other vegetation.


Mid April to mid June where mainly 2 eggs are laid.


Ringing recoveries of Scottish population tentatively shows wide dispersal. Canada, USA, Iceland, Faeroes, Norway, Svalbard, Atlantic, Mediterranean, West Africa and Brazil.


Scotland, Iceland and Faeroe Islands.

Other Information

The Shetland name of Bonxie hints at its habit of dive-bombing the heads of intruders near its nest site.

Other Skua family birds at Trust sites