Pomarine jaegers Stercorarius pomarinus, photographed by Hellio & Van Ingen.

Belongs within: Charadriiformes.

The Stercorariidae are the skuas, gull-like pelagic birds with a bipolar distribution. Skuas are distinguished from gulls by the presence of a distinctive sheath at the base of their hooked bills (Heather & Robinson 1996). Those species breeding in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as jaegers, have central tail feathers extending well beyond the remainder of the tail (Heather & Robinson 1996).

<==Stercorariidae [Lestridinae, Stercorariinae]
    |  i. s.: ‘Larus’ desnoyersii Milne-Edwards 1863 M02
    |--Catharacta Brünnich 1764 [Catharactinae] B94
    |    |--C. maccormicki HR96
    |    `--C. skua Brünnich 1764 WH02
    |         |--C. s. skua HR96
    |         `--C. s. lonnbergi HR96
    `--Stercorarius Brisson 1760 M02 [incl. Lestris Illiger 1811 B94]
         |--S. longicaudus Vieillot 1819 R85
         |--S. maccormicki Saunders 1893 R85
         |--S. parasiticus (Linnaeus 1758) [incl. S. crepidatus Banks 1773] P04
         |--S. pomarinus (Temminck 1815) [=Lestris pomarinus; incl. S. pomarinus philippi Mourer-Chauviré 1975] M02
         |--S. shufeldti FP64
         `--S. skua R85
              |--S. s. skua R85
              `--S. s. lonnbergi (Mathews 1912) R85

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1-281.

[FP64] Fisher, J., & R. T. Peterson. 1964. The World of Birds: A comprehensive guide to general ornithology. Macdonald: London.

[HR96] Heather, B. D., & H. A. Robertson. 1996. The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Viking: Auckland.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[P04] Palma, R. L. 2004. Designation of a lectotype for Docophorus atlanticus Kellogg, 1914 (Insecta: Phthiraptera: Philopteridae). Tuhinga 15: 13-16.

[R85] Robertson, C. J. R. (ed.) 1985. Reader’s Digest Complete Book of New Zealand Birds. Reader’s Digest: Sydney.

[WH02] Worthy, T. H., & R. N. Holdaway. 2002. The Lost World of the Moa: Prehistoric life of New Zealand. Indiana University Press: Bloomington (Indiana).

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