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South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

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 not a migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 109,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 6000-15000 poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Stable -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 17.1 - - -
Population justification: The population is placed in the band 10,000-19,999 individuals, equating to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.
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 Resident
Antarctica Native Extant Yes      
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant       Yes
Argentina Native Extant       Yes
Australia Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Barbados Native Extant       Yes
Bermuda (to UK) Vagrant Extant     Yes  
Bouvet Island (to Norway) Unknown Extant        
Brazil Native Extant       Yes
Canada Native Extant       Yes
Chile Native Extant       Yes
Comoros Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Costa Rica Native Extant   Yes    
Dominica Native Extant       Yes
Ecuador Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Egypt Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Native Extant       Yes
Fiji Vagrant Extant   Yes    
French Guiana Native Extant       Yes
Greenland (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Guadeloupe (to France) Native Extant       Yes
Guatemala Unknown Extant   Yes    
India Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Indonesia Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Israel Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Japan Native Extant       Yes
Jordan Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Kenya Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Maldives Native Extant       Yes
Martinique (to France) Native Extant       Yes
Mauritius Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Mexico Native Extant       Yes
Micronesia, Federated States of Native Extant   Yes    
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant       Yes
Mozambique Native Extant       Yes
Namibia Native Extant       Yes
New Zealand Native Extant       Yes
Oman Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Palau Unknown Extant       Yes
Panama Native Extant       Yes
Peru Native Extant       Yes
Portugal Vagrant Extant   Yes    
Seychelles Native Extant       Yes
Somalia Vagrant Extant   Yes    
South Africa Native Extant       Yes
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands Native Extant       Yes
Sri Lanka Vagrant Extant   Yes    
St Kitts and Nevis Native Extant       Yes
St Lucia Native Extant       Yes
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant   Yes    
St Vincent and the Grenadines Native Extant       Yes
Suriname Native Extant       Yes
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant       Yes
USA Native Extant   Yes    
Virgin Islands (to UK) Unknown Extant       Yes
Virgin Islands (to USA) Unknown Extant       Yes
Yemen Vagrant Extant   Yes    

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Antarctica Avian Island site factsheet
Antarctica Beaufort Island site factsheet
Antarctica Blue Glacier to Cape Chocolate site factsheet
Antarctica Cape Adare site factsheet
Antarctica Cape Crozier, Ross Island site factsheet
Antarctica Cape Washington site factsheet
Antarctica Caughley Beach, Cape Bird site factsheet
Antarctica Cierva Point and offshore islands site factsheet
Antarctica Dailey Islands site factsheet
Antarctica Depot Island site factsheet
Antarctica Dunlop Island site factsheet
Antarctica Edmonson Point site factsheet
Antarctica Franklin Island southwest site factsheet
Antarctica Gregory Island site factsheet
Antarctica Half Moon Island site factsheet
Antarctica Haswell Island site factsheet
Antarctica Hop Island, Rauer Islands site factsheet
Antarctica Inexpressible Island site factsheet
Antarctica Lagotellerie Island site factsheet
Antarctica Litchfield Island site factsheet
Antarctica McDonald Beach, Cape Bird site factsheet
Antarctica Point Hennequin, King George Island site factsheet
Antarctica Possession Island site factsheet
Antarctica Potter Peninsula, King George Island site factsheet
Antarctica Rocky Point, Ross Island site factsheet
Antarctica Svarthamaren site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands major breeding
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline major breeding
Marine Intertidal Tidepools major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable resident
Marine Neritic Pelagic major resident
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable resident
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable resident
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) suitable non-breeding
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) suitable breeding
Altitude 0 - 0 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Catharacta maccormicki. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

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)
Species name author (Saunders, 1893)
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 109,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species