Parasitic Jaeger

Stercorarius parasiticus




Skuas and Jaegers (Stercorariidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Brown to green or blue, with brown spots.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

25 - 28

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with plant material.





Parasitic Jaeger: Medium-sized with two color morphs. Dark morph has a brown body, darker cap, pale cheeks, paler belly and pale underwing patches near tips. Light morph has white underparts, brown breast band, straw yellow ear coverts and side of neck; may have a pale brown pectoral band. Intermediates between dark and light morphs occur. Diamond-shaped tail has elongated pointed central feathers. Sexes are similar. Juveniles of both morphs are brown-barred overall and have dark-tipped bills, slightly elongated central tail feathers and blue legs.

Range and Habitat

Parasitic Jaeger: Breeds on the coasts of Alaska, as well as coastal and inland tundra regions of northern Canada; also found in Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, and northern Russia. Pelagic, spending winters in warm waters from the Carolinas and California to Mexico, the West Indies, and areas south.

Breeding and Nesting

Parasitic Jaeger: Two brown to green or blue eggs with brown spots are laid in a shallow ground depression lined with plant material. Incubation ranges from 25 to 28 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Parasitic Jaeger: They feed on small and medium-sized birds, bird eggs, insects, fish, rodents and carrion. They hunt cooperatively, with one chasing a bird near the ground while another flies above to intercept dodges; also, one distracts the incubating parent while the other makes off with an egg. At times they harass other birds, forcing them to release food held in their bills.


Parasitic Jaeger: Usually silent; on breeding grounds utters a series of repeated two-syllable notes and a variety of mewing sounds.

Similar Species

Parasitic Jaeger: Long-tailed Jaeger is pale gray above and lacks breast band. Pomarine Jaeger is larger and bulkier with rounded central tail feathers.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X