LONG-TAILED JAEGER

LONG-TAILED JAEGER(Stercorarius longicaudus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Long-tailed Jaeger breeding adult has a black cap which includes the eye, and grey upper parts except the nape and throat, which are creamy. Tail streamers are almost as long as body. Under parts are white. Eyes are black. Bill is black, with a small hook at the tip. Legs and feet are grey. Adults are similar. Juvenile has variable plumage and takes 2 years to reach adult plumage. It has a wedge-shaped tail instead of streamers. It is the smallest jaeger at 45 cm (18 inches), including the tail streamers. There are two subspecies.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Stercorarius-longicaudus
NAME: ‘Jaeger’ comes from German and means ‘hunter’. Latin genus name ‘Stercorarius’ refers to ‘dung’, as this species goes after fish scraps (offal) from fishing vessels. Latin species name ‘longicaudus’ means ‘long tail’. Outside North America this bird is called ‘Long-tailed Skua’.
HABITAT: Pelagic (open seas) when not breeding; dry tundra in the summer.
DIET: Rodents, birds, fish (which they can steal from other birds), insects (caught on the fly at times), some small fruit, also carrion.
NESTING: Nest is placed on the ground. Generally two green-brown eggs are laid, incubated by both parents, who also both feed the chicks.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeding range covers the Arctic around the world. Winters around the Antarctic. Some individuals have been reported on Hawaii.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-tailed_jaeger#/media/File:Stercorarius_longicaudus_map.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION: Population fluctuates relative to lemming cycles, difficult to assess because of this. Nevertheless this species is currently not considered at risk.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Pomarine Jaeger, Parasitic Jaeger, Great Skua
REFERENCES: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-tailed_jaeger
http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/489/overview/Long-tailed_Jaeger.aspx
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/linnut/long-tailed-skua (Nature Gate Finland)
http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/long-tailed-skua (New Zealand Birds Online) Migrant
https://www.spitsbergen-svalbard.com/spitsbergen-information/wildlife/long-tailed-skua.html
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=LTJA&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)
Long-tailed Jaeger (.pdf file, USFWS Alaska)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/long-tailed-jaeger

Long-tailed Jaeger - Spitzbergen - Dec. 2002 - photo by Jerzy Strzelecki
Long-tailed Jaeger – Spitzbergen – Dec. 2002 – photo by Jerzy Strzelecki
Long-tailed Jaeger in flight - Aug. 2005 - photo by Tim Bowman, USFWS
Long-tailed Jaeger in flight – Aug. 2005 – photo by Tim Bowman, USFWS

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