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. Polymorphic. The genetic basis of the polymorphism is more complex than once believed and has been found to... 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 June, later in the north of the range than in the south. Colonial at seabird sites or widely scattered over tundra;... read more


Mainly a transequatorial migrant. Mainly small numbers winter in the Northern Hemisphere when some... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The most numerous jaeger. The global population is not known with any precision but the European fraction is estimated at 79,800... read more

Recommended citation

Furness, R.W., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2018). 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 17 December 2018).