Long-tailed Skua

Stercorarius longicaudus (Vieillot, 1819) OG LOTSK 5680
Family: Charadriiformes > Stercorariidae

Long-tailed Skua, Brendan Doe

A scarce but regular passage migrant. In spring Long-tailed Skuas are more regularly recorded along western coasts, but in autumn they are more regular on North Sea coasts. Small numbers are sometimes recorded from inland locations.

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Long-tailed Skua

  • Breeding
  • Winter


Long-tailed Skua identification is often difficult. The following article may help when identifying Long-tailed Skua.

related video

Identifying Skuas

Identifying skuas passing offshore in late summer is one of the great challenges of bird ID. There are clues to help us, however, and - with practice - most individuals can be identified. This workshop will point you in the right direction and help you to focus on the features and markings that will be most helpful when seawatching.


Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Long-tailed Skua, provided by xeno-canto contributors.


Develop your bird ID skills with our training courses

Our interactive online courses are a great way to develop your bird identification skills, whether you're new to the hobby or a competent birder looking to hone your abilities.

Browse training courses

Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.



Long-tailed Skuas are scarce migrants on route to circumpolar breeding grounds. Occasionally birds may summer, as happened during 2008–11 on Shetland. Return passage is mostly in mid autumn but some birds linger into November and were recorded during the winter period of the 2007–11 atlas.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2



Long-tailed Skua is a scarce passage migrant. Spring passage is mostly confined to May, and return passage is mostly in September and October.

Weekly occurence of Long-tailed Skua from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.


Lifecycle and body size information about Long-tailed Skua, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.



Sample sizes are too small to report Biometrics for this species.

Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Gaelic: Fàsgadair-stiùireach
Welsh: Sgiwen Lostfain
Catalan: paràsit cuallarg
Czech: chaluha malá
Danish: Lille Kjove
Dutch: Kleinste Jager
Estonian: pikksaba-änn
Finnish: tunturikihu
French: Labbe à longue queue
German: Falkenraubmöwe
Hungarian: nyílfarkú halfarkas
Icelandic: Fjallkjói
Irish: Meirleach Earrfhada
Italian: Labbo codalunga
Latvian: garastes klijkaija
Lithuanian: ilgauodegis plešikas
Norwegian: Fjelljo
Polish: wydrzyk dlugosterny
Portuguese: mandrião-de-cauda-comprida / moleiro-rabilongo
Slovak: pomorník malý
Slovenian: dolgorepa govnacka
Spanish: Págalo rabero
Swedish: fjällabb

Links to more information from ConservationEvidence.com

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