Family Skuas (Stercorariidae)

Least Concern

Arctic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus)


French: Labbe parasite German: Schmarotzerraubmöwe Spanish: Págalo parásito
Other common names: Arctic Skua, Parasitic Jaeger

Larus parasiticus


, 1758,





Circumpolar in coastal tundra, mainly within band 57°–80° N. Winters in oceans of Southern Hemisphere, especially close to coasts of South America, S Africa, S Australia and New Zealand.

Descriptive notes

41–46 cm; 330–610 g; wingspan 110–125 cm. Two colour morphs strikingly different: dark morph, common at S end of ­breeding range, uniformly sooty brown... read more


Mainly vocal on the breeding grounds. Long-call is a series of 5–10 low-pitched nasal mewing calls... read more


Marine, and predominantly coastal, in winter often aggregating at coastal sites such as estuaries... read more

Food and feeding

When nesting close to other seabird colonies, will obtain most or all of food by kleptoparasitism, especially stealing fish from Arctic... read more


Starts May or Jun, later in N than in S. Colonial at seabird sites or widely scattered over tundra; territorial. Nest scrape unlined and... read more


Mainly transequatorial migrant, with very small numbers wintering in Northern Hemisphere. Leaves... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The most numerous skua, with total population in 100,000's of pairs: 8000 pairs in Norway; 4000 pairs in Iceland; 1000–10,... read more

Recommended citation

Furness, R.W. & Boesman, P. (2017). Arctic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 April 2017).