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Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus


The Pomarine Jaeger is the largest of the jaegers, and the only one that has a bulging and twisted “spoon-shaped” tip to the long central tail feathers; the other two have pointed central tail feathers. Although it is clearly similar to the other jaegers genetically this species has proven to be problematic. Research into the lineage of its mitochondrial DNA shows an allegiance with the larger skuas (formerly Catharacta) rather than with the two other jaegers. This has been interpreted in many ways, including that the Pomarine is in fact more closely related to the skuas. It may be in fact that there is past hybridization between the Pomarine and skuas, and this is why it shows up in the genes, but that it is in fact a jaeger and not at all closely related to the skuas. Time will tell as more research is done on the subject. With respect to its habits, this species is strictly pelagic in the non-breeding season. In general it winters farther north, than the other two jaegers, and it is not unusual to find it in warmer tropical and subtropical waters. This jaeger is an aggressive kleptoparasite during the non-breeding season, and can chase gulls much larger than its size and get them to cough up food. Adults and juveniles of this jaeger come in dark and pale morphs.

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© Stewart D. MacDonald

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

Recommended Citation

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