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Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus


The Parasitic Jaeger is the medium sized of the three jaeger species. It is also as it name implies quite a keen kleptoparasite, and often it focuses on terns as well as smaller gulls when trying to steal food. Like the other jaegers this is an arctic breeder which spends the non-breeding season in the pelagic realm. It winters as far north as Florida and northern Mexico on the Pacific, but ranges as far south as southernmost Chile and Argentina. Of the three jaegers, this is the one which is most likely to be seen from the coast. Perhaps the fact that terns are preferred victims for its chases, keeps them closer to shore. This jaeger, like the Pomarine (Stercorarius pomarinus) also has both pale and dark morphs. In breeding plumage the most noticeable feature are the short and spiky central tail feathers. As a juvenile, this jaeger has a tendency to show more warm and cinnamon tones unlike the browner or colder looking other two species. To see this jaeger chase down its victims is to see something acrobatically exciting and exhilarating. The Parasitic is big enough to look powerful, but slim enough to be incredibly maneuverable. Hands down, the Parasitic is the king of the chase, more so than its larger or smaller relatives.

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© Roger Charters

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: