Family Skuas (Stercorariidae)

Least Concern

Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus)


French: Labbe pomarin German: Spatelraubmöwe Spanish: Págalo pomarino
Other common names: Pomarine Skua

Lestris pomarinus


, 1815,

Arctic regions of Europe


Has been placed in a monotypic genus, Coprotheres. Relationships uncertain; may be more closely related to Catharacta skua than to either of its two congeners. One study, however, found that present species was sister to a monophyletic genus Catharacta (containing the four presently listed species, below)#R, a relationship supported by recent study of skeletal morphology#R. Monotypic.


Tundra of N Russia, N Alaska and N Canada. Winters at sea close to coasts, mainly between Tropic of Cancer and equator, and around Australia.

Descriptive notes

46–51 cm (including central tail streamers of up to 11 cm); 550–850 g; wingspan 125–138 cm. Striking white wing panels more like Catharacta than... read more


Mainly vocal on the breeding grounds. Long-call comprises 6–8 low-pitched nasal mewing laugh-like... read more


Marine outside breeding season, remaining somewhat coastal, especially in upwelling regions of the... read more

Food and feeding

A specialist lemming predator while breeding, catching rodents mainly from the surface but often digging open their burrows. Lemmings... read more


  Successful reproduction occurs only in one of every three or four years in a typical lemming cycle, and only where lemming... read more


Migrates to winter in low latitude seas, chiefly north of the equator although some travel further... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). In Europe, the breeding population  is estimated at some 40,000 mature individuals. All but a few pairs, in N Norway, are in... read more

Recommended citation

Furness, R.W., Boesman, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus). 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 3 April 2020).