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South Polar Skua Stercorarius maccormicki

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
Antarctica Native Extant Yes    
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant      
Argentina Native Extant      
Australia Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Barbados Native Extant      
Bermuda (to UK) Vagrant Extant     Yes
Bouvet Island (to Norway) Unknown Extant      
Brazil Native Extant      
Canada Native Extant      
Chile Native Extant      
Comoros Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Costa Rica Native Extant   Yes  
Dominica Native Extant      
Ecuador Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Egypt Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Native Extant      
Fiji Vagrant Extant   Yes  
French Guiana Native Extant      
Greenland (to Denmark) Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Guadeloupe (to France) Native Extant      
Guatemala Unknown Extant   Yes  
India Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Indonesia Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Israel Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Japan Native Extant      
Jordan Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Kenya Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Maldives Native Extant      
Martinique (to France) Native Extant      
Mauritius Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Mexico Native Extant      
Micronesia, Federated States of Native Extant   Yes  
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant      
Mozambique Native Extant      
Namibia Native Extant      
New Zealand Native Extant      
Oman Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Palau Unknown Extant      
Panama Native Extant      
Peru Native Extant      
Portugal Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Seychelles Native Extant      
Somalia Vagrant Extant   Yes  
South Africa Native Extant      
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands Native Extant      
Sri Lanka Vagrant 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      
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant      
USA Native Extant   Yes  
Virgin Islands (to UK) Unknown Extant      
Virgin Islands (to USA) Unknown Extant      
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 Cierva Point and offshore islands site factsheet
Antarctica Half Moon Island site factsheet
Antarctica Litchfield Island site factsheet
Antarctica Potter Peninsula, King George Island 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 (2014) Species factsheet: Stercorarius maccormicki. Downloaded from on 24/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/04/2014.

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 (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