: any of various seabirds (genus Catharacta) related to the jaegers: such as
: a bird (C. maccormicki) that resembles but is slightly smaller than the great skua and that breeds in the Antarctic

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The hākoakoa, or subantarctic skua, is the bird equivalent of a pirate, Rykers said. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2022 Modest numbers of Cory’s, great, sooty, and Manx shearwaters were spotted at Race Point in Provincetown, where a South Polar skua, two parasitic jaegers, and 300 roseate terns were also observed. BostonGlobe.com, 14 Aug. 2021 The rats—brought to the island by whalers and sealers as early as the late 18th century—ate the eggs and vulnerable chicks of seabirds, including albatrosses, skua, terns, and petrels. National Geographic, 9 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'skua.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


New Latin, from Faeroese skúgvur; akin to Old Norse skūfr tassel, skua, Old English scēaf sheaf — more at sheaf

First Known Use

1678, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of skua was in 1678

Dictionary Entries Near skua

Cite this Entry

“Skua.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/skua. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

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