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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



Jaegers and Skuas


Long-tailed Jaeger

Stercorarius longicaudus

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Long-tailed Jaeger Nome Alaska

Long-tailed Jaeger photographed in Nome, Alaska by Emmalee Tarry

Other Names
Long-tailed Skua (Europe)

 Northern hemisphere breeder on arctic trundra. Circumpolar in the arctic with the exception of area from Greenland to the Murman Peninsula of north Russia. Harrison( 1983) .When not breeding migrates to the southern oceans.

Breeding Characteristics
Breeds on tundra. Exhibits mate and site fidelity. On breeding ground feeds on lemmings. Switches to other prey when lemmings are scarce in the breeding site.

Feeds on rodents especially lemmings which it hunts by hovering on breeding grounds. Also insects, berries, chicks and eggs of other birds. Also preys on small birds both on the breeding grounds and at sea.At sea practices kleptoparasitism especially on Kittiwakes.

Where To See in ABA area
Rarely seen on Stellwagen Bank or Jeffries Ledge pelagic trips usually in fall. Not easy to identify as it will usually be an immature bird. More likely on west coast pelagic trips.

To see the bird on the breeding grounds go to Nome, July. I will always remember this trip for the pairs of Long-tailed Jaegers swooping over the Kugerak Road. The picture at the top of the page was taken with slide film by Emmalee Tarry. Digital copy made of the slide by placing the slide on scanner. This bird swooped right over our heads while we were birding at a pond just on the outskirts of Nome..

The body of the Long-tailed Jaeger is slightly smaller than either the Pomarine or Parasitic Jaeger. It is about the size of the Black-headed Gull ( Olson and Larson 1997 ). In breeding plumage it is readily distinguished by the long tail. On fall pelagic trips we are most likely to see immature birds which are more difficult to separate from other jaegers.

Long-tail Jaeger with Parasitic Jaeger Leonard medlock

The first clue will be that this jaeger appears smaller than either Pomarine or Parasitic.  Great if you have another jaeger with which to compare.

Leonard Medlock photograph of Parasitic Jaeger left and Long-tailed Jaeger on the right. Photograph taken on 9/8/09.  Unfortunately I cannot really claim to see a size difference between these two birds.

Long-tailed Jaeger Dave Larson

Two Dave Larson photographs of the same Long-tailed Jaeger

Long-tailed Jaeger Dave Larson

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

Comments to webmaster               Top of Page

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