A wreck of Long-tailed Skuas (Stercorarius longicaudus
) on North Island beaches in early 1983 is reported. Characters used to identify Long-tailed and Arctic Skuas in the hand are reviewed with reference to New Zealand material. It is suggested that there may have been several New Zealand records of Long-tailed Skuas before the first accepted specimen record in 1964. The importance of retaining all small skuas found on New Zealand beaches for critical examination is emphasised. The 1983 wreck may be related to the 1982/83 El Nino, which apparently caused a reduction of food for at least some seabird species.