Long-tailed Jaeger

Silhouette JaegersJaegers

Long-tailed Jaeger

Stercorarius longicaudus
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Stercorariidae
Basic Description

The slender, almost ternlike Long-tailed Jaeger is daintier than other jaegers, but no less ferocious in its approach to getting food. These birds catch lemmings and raid bird nests during summer on the Arctic tundra. The rest of the year they pick fish from the sea surface or chase seabirds to steal their catch. They spend up to 75% of the year at sea, often on the open ocean far from land, and ranging well into the Southern Hemisphere. Immature jaegers can be extremely difficult to identify to species.

More ID Info
image of range map for Long-tailed JaegerRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Long-tailed Jaegers can be difficult to find. They breed in the high Arctic and spend the nonbreeding season farther out to sea than the other two jaeger species. The best bet for finding them is to sign up for a pelagic birding trip or whale-watching trip, particularly during the birds’ fall migration. Watch for a small, buoyant bird with slow, light wingbeats, often flying fairly high. Many Long-tailed Jaegers outside the breeding season will lack the very long central tail feathers of breeding adults.

Other Names
  • long-tailed skua
  • Págalo Rabero (Spanish)
  • Labbe à longue queue (French)
  • Cool Facts