Family Skuas (Stercorariidae)

Least Concern

Chilean Skua (Catharacta chilensis)


French: Labbe du Chili German: Chileskua Spanish: Págalo chileno

Stercorarius antarcticus b. chilensis


, 1857,



In past, sometimes considered conspecific with all three congeners. Occasional hybridization with C. a. antarctica reported. Monotypic.


Coastal SC Chile (Concepción) and S Argentina (Deseado) to S Tierra del Fuego. Apparently winters mainly along coasts of Chile and Argentina, extending N to N Peru and possibly E to W Falkland Is.

Descriptive notes

53–58 cm; 1100–1700 g; wingspan 130–138 cm. Brown dorsal plumage with bright cinnamon underparts in many but not all individuals; lesser and median... read more


Mainly vocal on the breeding grounds. Long-call is a series of 10–12 short nasal barks. Calls... read more


Marine, apparently predominantly coastal, and occurring especially in channels and straits. Breeds... read more

Food and feeding

Little known but presumably opportunistic. Dense gull-like colonial nesting suggests feeding may be more gull-like than skua-like.... read more


Starts November but extends to February–March at least. Colonial, sometimes at high nesting density similar to large gulls and unlike... read more


Little known, but apparently disperses northwards along the coasts of Argentina and Chile to S Peru... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The global population remains unknown but numbers several thousand pairs. No information available on population trends or changes in... read more

Recommended citation

Furness, R.W., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2017). Chilean Skua (Catharacta chilensis). 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 24 November 2017).