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

Belongs within: Charadriiformes.

The Stercorariidae, skuas, are gull-like pelagic birds with a bipolar distribution. The are distinguished from gulls by the presence of a distinctive sheath at the base of their hooked bills. Those species breeding in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as jaegers, have central tail feathers extending well beyond the remainder of the tail. Authors have differed on whether all living skuas should be included in a single genus Stercorarius or whether this genus should be restricted with the smaller jaegers, with the larger skuas of the Southern Hemisphere treated as a distinct genus Catharacta.

<==Stercorariidae [Catharactinae, Lestridinae, Stercorariinae]
    |  i. s.: ‘Larus’ desnoyersii Milne-Edwards 1863 M02
    `--Stercorarius Brisson 1760 (see below for synonymy) CC10
         |  i. s.: S. lonnbergi (Mathews 1912) CC10, JT12, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
         |         S. shufeldti FP64
         |--S. longicaudus Vieillot 1819 BKB15, CC10 [=Lestris longicaudus] CC10
         |    |--S. l. longicaudus CC10
         |    `--S. l. pallescens Løppenthin 1932 CC10
         `--+--*S. parasiticus (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
            `--+--S. skua (Brünnich 1764) BKB15, WH02 (see below for synonymy)
               `--+--S. pomarinus (Temminck 1815) BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                  `--+--S. maccormicki Saunders 1893 CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                     `--+--S. antarcticus (Lesson 1831) BKB15, CC10 (see below for synonymy)
                        |    |--C. a. antarctica CC10
                        |    `--C. a. hamiltoni Hagen 1952 CC10
                        `--‘Catharacta’ chilensis JT12

Stercorarius Brisson 1760 [=Lestris Illiger 1811; incl. Catharacta Brünnich 1764, Coprotheres Reichenbach 1850, Megalestris Bonaparte 1856] CC10

Stercorarius antarcticus (Lesson 1831) BKB15, CC10 [=Lestris antarcticus CC10, Catharacta antarctica CC10, Megalestris antarctica CC10]

Stercorarius lonnbergi (Mathews 1912) CC10, JT12, CC10 [=Catharacta antarctica lonnbergi CC10, C. skua lonnbergi CC10, Stercorarius skua lonnbergi CC10; incl. S. antarcticus madagascariensis Bonaparte 1856 (nom. rej.)] CC10

Stercorarius maccormicki Saunders 1893 CC10 [=Catharacta skua maccormicki CC10, JT12, Megalestris maccormicki CC10, Stercorarius skua maccormicki CC10; incl. Catharacta maccormicki wilsoni Mathews 1913 CC10]

*Stercorarius parasiticus (Linnaeus 1758) CC10, BKB15, CC10 [=Larus parasiticus CC10, Catharacta parasitica CC10, *Lestris parasiticus CC10; incl. Larus crepidatus Banks 1773 CC10, Stercorarius crepidatus CC10, S. parasiticus visitori Mathews 1915 CC10]

Stercorarius pomarinus (Temminck 1815) BKB15, CC10 [=Lestris pomarinus CC10, Catharacta pomarina CC10, *Coprotheres pomarinus CC10; incl. Coprotheres pomarinus nutcheri Mathews 1917 CC10, S. pomarinus philippi Mourer-Chauviré 1975 M02]

Stercorarius skua (Brünnich 1764) BKB15, WH02 [=*Catharacta skua CC10; incl. Larus catarractes Linnaeus 1766 CC10, Lestris catarractes CC10, *Megalestris catarractes CC10, Stercorarius catarractes CC10]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BKB15] Burleigh, J. G., R. T. Kimball & E. L. Braun. 2015. Building the avian tree of life using a large-scale, sparse supermatrix. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 84: 53–63.

[CC10] Checklist Committee (OSNZ). 2010. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand, Norfolk and Macquarie Islands, and the Ross Dependency, Antarctica 4th ed. Ornithological Society of New Zealand and Te Papa Press: Wellington.

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

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444–448.

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

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

Last updated: 10 August 2019.

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