Family Skuas (Stercorariidae)

Least Concern

Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus)


French: Labbe à longue queue German: Falkenraubmöwe Spanish: Págalo rabero
Other common names: Long-tailed Skua

Stercorarius longicaudus


, 1819,

northern Europe


Nominate birds with plumage characteristics of pallescens occasionally found. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. l. longicaudus Vieillot, 1819 – Arctic and subarctic uplands of Scandinavia and Russia E to delta of R Lena; winters in subantarctic and offshore S South America and S Africa.
  • S. l. pallescens Løppenthin, 1932 – NE Siberia (E of Lena Delta), Arctic Alaska, N Canada and Greenland; winters in subantarctic and offshore S South America and S Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    48–53 cm (including central tail streamers of up to 22 cm); 230–350 g; wingspan 105–117 cm. Smallest, most buoyant and graceful skua; extremely long tail,... read more


    Vocal on the breeding grounds. The basic vocabulary is a combination of mewing and yelping... read more


    Marine and highly pelagic, seldom occurring within sight of land except when breeding. Nests on... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly lemmings (Lemmus and Dicrostonyx spp.) during summer, caught with the bill, by pouncing on them on the tundra... read more


    Starts June. Widely scattered over tundra, highly territorial. Nest scrape unlined and inconspicuous. Usually two eggs, but only one laid... read more


    A trans-equatorial migrant but highly pelagic and its routes and winter distribution are... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The global population is estimated to be of the order of 250,000–749,999 mature individuals. It is the most northerly breeder... read more

    Recommended citation

    Furness, R.W., Kirwan, G.M., de Juana, E. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus). 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 4 April 2020).