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Great Skua Stercorarius skua

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 16,100 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 38,400,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Stable -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 17.5 - - -
Population justification: The breeding population, which is confined to Europe, is estimated to number 16,000-16,000 breeding pairs, equating to 48,000-48,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004).
Trend justification: The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Algeria Native Extant      
Anguilla (to UK) Unknown Extant      
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant      
Austria Native Extant     Yes
Barbados Native Extant      
Belgium Native Extant      
Belize Native Extant      
Bermuda (to UK) Vagrant Extant      
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Brazil Native Extant      
Bulgaria Native Extant   Yes  
Canada Native Extant      
Cape Verde Native Extant      
Colombia Native Extant      
Côte d'Ivoire Vagrant Extant      
Croatia Vagrant Extant      
Cuba Vagrant Extant      
Curaçao (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Cyprus Unknown Extant      
Czech Republic Vagrant Extant      
Denmark Native Extant     Yes
Dominica Native Extant      
Egypt Native Extant      
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Native Extant Yes    
Finland Vagrant Extant      
France Native Extant   Yes Yes
French Guiana Native Extant      
Gambia Unknown Extant      
Germany Native Extant      
Ghana Vagrant Extant      
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant   Yes  
Greece Vagrant Extant      
Greenland (to Denmark) Native Extant   Yes  
Guadeloupe (to France) Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Guinea Unknown Extant      
Guinea-Bissau Unknown Extant      
Guyana Native Extant      
Hungary Vagrant Extant      
Iceland Native Extant Yes    
Ireland Native Extant Yes    
Israel Vagrant Extant      
Italy Native Extant   Yes  
Latvia Vagrant Extant      
Lebanon Unknown Extant      
Liberia Vagrant Extant      
Libya Native Extant      
Lithuania Vagrant Extant      
Luxembourg Vagrant Extant      
Malta Vagrant Extant      
Martinique (to France) Native Extant      
Mauritania Native Extant      
Montenegro Vagrant Extant      
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant      
Morocco Native Extant      
Netherlands Native Extant   Yes  
Nigeria Vagrant Extant      
Norway Native Extant Yes    
Panama Native Extant      
Poland Vagrant Extant      
Portugal Native Extant   Yes  
Puerto Rico (to USA) Native Extant      
Romania Vagrant Extant      
Russia (Central Asian) Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes    
Senegal Vagrant Extant      
Serbia Vagrant Extant      
Sierra Leone Unknown Extant      
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Slovakia Native Extant      
Slovenia Vagrant Extant      
Spain Native Extant   Yes  
St Kitts and Nevis Native Extant      
St Lucia Native Extant      
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant   Yes  
St Vincent and the Grenadines Native Extant      
Suriname Native Extant      
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Native Extant Yes    
Sweden Native Extant      
Switzerland Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Syria Unknown Extant      
Trinidad and Tobago Unknown Extant      
Tunisia Native Extant      
Turkey Vagrant Extant      
United Kingdom Native Extant Yes    
USA Native Extant   Yes  
Venezuela Unknown Extant      
Virgin Islands (to UK) Unknown Extant      
Virgin Islands (to USA) Unknown Extant      
Western Sahara Unknown Extant      

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Denmark Skagerrak-Southwest Norwegian trench site factsheet
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Sandoy site factsheet
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Skúvoy site factsheet
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Streymoy site factsheet
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Vágar site factsheet
Iceland Breidamerkursandur site factsheet
Iceland Skeidarársandur site factsheet
Russia (European) Seven islands site factsheet
Spain Estrecho de Gibraltar site factsheet
United Kingdom Fair Isle site factsheet
United Kingdom Foula site factsheet
United Kingdom Handa site factsheet
United Kingdom Hermaness, Saxa Vord and Valla Field site factsheet
United Kingdom Hoy site factsheet
United Kingdom Noss site factsheet
United Kingdom Ronas Hill - North Roe and Tingon site factsheet
United Kingdom Sandwick and Clift Hills site factsheet
United Kingdom South Bressay site factsheet
United Kingdom St Kilda site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Tundra major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Climate change & severe weather Habitat shifting & alteration Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Whole (>90%) Unknown Unknown
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Stercorarius skua. Downloaded from on 23/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/07/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Stercorariidae (Skuas and jaegers)
Species name author Br
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 16,100 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species