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New England Seabirds

 Wilson's Storm-petrel  Dave Jones

Jaegers and Skuas
Pomarine Jaeger
Parasitic Jaeger
Long-tailed Jaeger
South Polar Skua
Great Skua

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Jaegers and Skuas


Parasitic Jaeger

Stercorarius parasiticus

Parasitic Jaeger Leonard Medlock
Parasitic Jaeger photo by Leonard Medlock

Other Names
Arctic Skua (Europe). European English names do not use the name jaeger for the genus Stercorarius that breed exclusively in the northern Hemisphere . Birding in Europe you have to get used to Pomarine Skua, Long-tailed Skua and in the case of the Parasitic Jaeger a completely different name Arctic Skua.

The Parasitic Jaeger breeds in the northern hemisphere and is almost circumpolar. After breeding migrates to the southern oceans like the Long-tailed Jaeger.

Breeding Characteristics
Exhibits mate and site fidelity like all skuas and jaegers (except the Pomarine Jaeger )which allows them to breed earlier and more successfully. In northern locations breeds on the tundra where it feeds on rodents (primarily lemmings), insects, and berries. On the more southern part of its range it is mainly a coastal breeder. Tends to breed near seabird colonies of gannets and puffins where its numbers are limited by the Great Skua.

The Parasitic Jaeger is the most highly kletoparasitic of the three Stercorarius jaegers. It even preys on terns. If you see a jaeger off our coast chasing a tern it is most likely a Parasitic Jaeger.

Where To See in the ABA area and beyond
Can be seen on pelagic trips from our coasts in fall and winter usually immature or non-breeding birds. Breeds at Churchill in Manitoba and in Alaska. Easy to see in breeding plumage in the Orkney and Shetland Islands. See Wandering Birder Europe

Parasitic Jaeger by Leonard Medlock
Parasitic Jaeger by Leonard Medlock

Seabirds | Jaegers & SkuasPomarine jaeger | Parasitic JaegerLong-tailed JaegerSouth Polar Skua | Great Skua


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Harrison, Peter (1983) Seabirds an identification guide Houghton Mifflin Company; Boston

Olsen, Klaus Mailing & Larsson, Hans (1997) Skuas and Jaegers A Guide to the Skuas and Jaegers of the World Yale University Press New Haven and London