World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Parasitic jaeger

Article Id: WHEBN0000353164
Reproduction Date:

Title: Parasitic jaeger  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Skuas, Seymour Island (Nunavut), Long-tailed jaeger, Gress, King eider
Collection: Arctic Birds, Birds of Cameroon, Birds of Europe, Birds of North Africa, Birds of Western Sahara, Cosmopolitan Animals, Skuas
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Parasitic jaeger

Parasitic jaeger
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Stercorariidae
Genus: Stercorarius
Species: S. parasiticus
Binomial name
Stercorarius parasiticus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The parasitic jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), also known as the Arctic skua or parasitic skua, is a seabird in the skua family Stercorariidae.


  • Breeding 1
  • Feeding 2
  • Description 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden

This species breeds in the north of Eurasia and North America, with significant populations as far south as northern Scotland. It nests on dry tundra, higher fells and islands, laying up to four olive-brown eggs. It is usually silent except for mewing and wailing notes while on the breeding grounds. Like other skuas, it will fly at the head of a human or fox approaching its nest. Although it cannot inflict serious damage, it is a frightening and painful experience. It is a migrant, wintering at sea in the tropics and southern oceans.

In the British Isles, they breed in Shetland and Orkney, the Outer Hebrides, Sutherland, Caithness, and some islands in Argyll.


This bird will feed on rodents, small birds and insects but also robs gulls and terns of their catches. Like the larger skua species, it continues this piratical behaviour throughout the year, showing great agility as it harasses its victims.


Dark morph (Iceland)

Identification is complicated by similarities to long-tailed jaeger and pomarine skua, and the existence of three colour morphs. Small for a skua, the parasitic jaeger measures 41–48 cm (16–19 in) in length, 107–125 cm (42–49 in) in wingspan and weighs 300–650 g (0.66–1.43 lb).[2][3] The tail streamer of the breeding adult accounts for about 7 cm (2.8 in) of their length. Light-morph adults have a brown back, mainly white underparts and dark primary wing feathers with a white "flash". The head and neck are yellowish-white with a black cap and there is a pointed central tail projection. Dark-morph adults are dark brown, and intermediate-phase birds are dark with somewhat paler underparts, head and neck. All morphs have the white wing flash.

An immature parasitic jaeger

Juveniles are even more problematic, and are difficult to separate from long-tailed jaegers. They are bulkier, shorter-winged, and less tern-like than that species, but show the same wide range of plumage variation. The flight is more falcon-like. However, they are usually warmer toned than long-tailed, with browner shades, rather than grey.

The call of these birds which is most often heard is a nasal mewing sound, repeated a few times in display, whereas its alarm call is a shorter sound.


  1. ^  
  2. ^ "Parasitic jaeger". 2011. 
  3. ^ Dunning, John B., Jr., ed. (1992). CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses. CRC Press.  
  • Harrison, Peter (1996). Seabirds of the World. Princeton: Princeton University Press.  
  • Bull, John; Farrand, Jr., John (April 1984). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Eastern Region. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.  

External links

  • Arctic skua - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds
  • Arctic skua information and photos at the Handa Island Skua Project
  • RSPB Birds by Name: Arctic skua
  • Arctic skua videos, photos, and sounds at the Internet Bird Collection
  • Parasitic jaeger photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
  • Stercorarius parasiticusInteractive range map of at IUCN Red List maps
  • Audio recordings of Parasitic jaeger on Xeno-canto.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.