These aggressive seabirds are sometimes referred to as avian pirates. The name is well earned. Skuas steal much of their food from terns, puffins, and other birds that are carrying fish or other prizes back to their nests and young. Skuas strike by attacking in midair and forcing their victims to drop their kills in flight. The swashbuckling birds sometimes team up to overwhelm their victims, and they are relentless in chasing down their adversaries.
In North America, Arctic skuas are known as parasitic jaegers. This mouthful of a moniker explains both aspects of the animal's feeding philosophy. “Kleptoparasitism” is the term for stealing food from other species, while “jaeger” is derived from the German “hunter.”
Although some skuas make their living