Merlin

Parasitic Jaeger

Silhouette JaegersJaegers

Parasitic Jaeger

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

Parasitic Jaegers, known as arctic skuas in Europe, are fast-flying relatives of gulls with a piratical lifestyle. They breed on the Arctic tundra, where they prey mainly on birds and their eggs. They spend the rest of the year on the open ocean, harrying other seabirds and sometimes attacking in groups, until they give up their catch. Jaegers come in several color morphs. Immatures can be extremely difficult to separate from other jaeger species.

More ID Info
image of range map for Parasitic JaegerRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Jaegers breed in the high Arctic, so for most people migration and winter are the best times to look for them. Parasitic Jaegers are the most likely of the three jaeger species to be seen from shore. They chase gulls and terns as they forage over tidal waters and turbulent patches where currents meet. Look for a powerfully built, sharp-winged and fast-flying bird among all the silvery wings. These birds can get into truly spectacular chases, so if you spot a gull or tern flying in a twisting path or straight up into the air, look for a Parasitic Jaeger behind it.

Other Names
  • arctic skua
  • Págalo Parásito (Spanish)
  • Labbe parasite (French)
  • Cool Facts

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