Tuesday, February 14

Long-tailed jaeger

   ›      ›   Long-tailed jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus.

The long-tailed jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) belongs to the family of jaegers and skuas, Stercorariidae.

These jaeger species are distributed in the Arctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. The long-tailed jaegers are transequatorial migrants and they winter in south Atlantic and Pacific coasts. There are two recognized subspecies of these jaegers.

Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Long-tailed Jaeger Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Long-tailed jaeger - Overview

  • Scientific name: Stercorarius longicaudus
  • Species author: Vieillot, 1819
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Stercorarius longicaudus Vieillot, 1819
  • Family: Stercorariidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Long-tailed jaeger, Chinese: 长尾贼鸥, French: Labbe à longue queue, German: Falkenraubmöwe, Spanish: Págalo rabero, Russian: Длиннохвостый поморник, Japanese: シロハラトウゾクカモメ, Indonesian: Burung Camar-kejar Kecil
  • Other names: Long-tailed skua
  • Distribution: Arctic Europe, Asia and North America; winters in the south Atlantic and Pacific coasts; accidental visitor to Indian coast
  • Diet and feeding habits: lemmings, fish robbed from other birds, small birds, small mammals, carrion
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The long-tailed jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) is closely related to Arctic jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) and pomarine jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus).
The two recognized subspecies of long-tailed jaeger are: Stercorarius longicaudus longicaudus Vieillot, 1819 and Stercorarius longicaudus pallescens Løppenthin, 1932.

Appearance, physical description and identification

The long-tailed jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) is a medium-sized bird, measuring 50 to 55 cm (including the tail streamers) in length and weighing about 230 to 350 grams. The wingspan is 100 to 120 cm. The overall plumage of these jaeger species is shades of gray. The back is grayish. The dark primary feathers do not have the white flashes, typical to other jaegers. The tail is dark and the central tail streamers are darker and long.

The head of long-tailed jaeger has a black cap. The nape, neck, throat and breast are whitish. The abdomen region is grayish and the undertail is dark. The irises are black. The bill is black with slightly down-curved upper mandible tip. Their call is a harsh "kreeah" sound.
Indian birds - Picture of Long-tailed jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus
Birds of India - Image of Long-tailed jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus
Birds of India - Photo of  of Long-tailed jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus
Indian birds - Picture of Long-tailed jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus
Indian birds - Picture of Long-tailed jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus
Birds of India - Photo of Long-tailed jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The breeding populations of long-tailed jaeger are distributed in the Arctic regions of Europe, Asia and North America. The wintering populations are distributed in south Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Vagrant and migrating jaeger populations occur in several Asian, African and South American nations including India.

The nominate long-tailed jaeger subspecies S. l. longicaudus is distributed in Arctic and subarctic uplands of Scandinavia and Russia. The subspecies S. l. pallescens is distributed in Arctic Alaska, N Canada and Greenland.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of the long-tailed jaeger species in Finland are Käsivarsi fjelds and Kevo. The IBA of these species in Norway are Dovrefjell, Hardangervidda, Reisa and Varanger Peninsula.

The IBA of these jaeger species in Russia are Middle reaches of Bolshaya Rogovaya river, Valley of the Yorkutayakha river, Upper and Middle Yuribey, Lower Yuribey and Basins of the Schuchya and Khadytayakha rivers.

The IBA of these long-tailed jaeger species in Sweden are Lake Ånnsjön-Storlien, Lake Tjålmejaure-Laisdalen valley, Middagsfjället - Dörrshöjden, Taavavuoma, Vindelfjällen mountains and Lake Tärnasjön.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of these jaeger species in Greenland and Denmark are Hochstetter Forland, South coast of Germania Land, Western part of Germania land and Slaedelandet.

Ecosystem and habitat

These long-tailed jaeger species do not normally occur in forests. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 1300 meters. They inhabit various marine, oceanic, neritic, pelagic and grassland ecosystems.

The breeding long-tailed jaeger populations inhabit Arctic, subarctic or montane tundra and grasslands. They inhabit marine neritic regions like shallow seas with submerged macroalgal, kelp and seagrass growths. They also inhabit subtidal regions with sands, pebbles, loose rocks and rocky reefs. They also inhabit marine pelagic and oceanic habitats.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these long-tailed jaeger species is mostly lemmings during the breeding season. The lemmings, fish, shrews, many insects, berries and small birds are their primary food. The wintering population is believed to thrive by scavenging and kleptoparasitism, by chasing other seabirds and robbing them of their catches.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of the long-tailed jaeger species starts from June. These jaeger species are highly territorial and attack intruders, including humans. The nesting sites are widely scattered on dry tundra and high barren lands.

The jaeger nest is an inconspicuous, unlined scrape on the ground. The clutch consists of two spotted olive-brown eggs. Their breeding success is closely linked with the abundance of their major prey, lemmings.

Migration and movement patterns

The long-tailed jaeger is a long-distance transequatorial migrant bird. During the summer, the long-tailed jaeger species nest and breed in the Arctic and subarctic regions in Asia, Europe and North America. Major breeding populations are found in Alaska, Russia and Canada.

These jaeger species make transequatorial migration to reach the south Atlantic and Pacific coasts for wintering. These birds have been recorded even in South Pole. The jaegers may migrate overland in Asia and Africa.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the long-tailed jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) is estimated to be around 250,000 to 750,000 mature individual birds. The overall population size of these jaeger species is considered to be stable. Throughout its range it is reported to be rare to nearly common. The generation length is 12.5 years. Their distribution size is about 34,800,000 sq.km.

The long-tailed jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable either under the range size criterion or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion. The impacts posed by the climate change and the resultant fluctuations in the availability of prey are the main threats that may endanger the survival of these jaeger species.

IUCN and CITES status

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the jaeger species and has listed it as of "Least Concern". CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the long-tailed jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Stercorarius longicaudus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Stercorariidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Stercorarius
Species:S. longicaudus
Binomial name:Stercorarius longicaudus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stercorarius_longicaudus2.jpg
Image author: Tim Bowman - Fish and Wildlife Service | License: Public domain
2.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Long-tailed_Skua,_Svalbard_1.jpg
Image author: Smudge 9000 | License : CC BY-SA 2.0 (as on 17/02/11)
3.Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Long-tailed_Skua_in_flight.jpg
Image author: Tim Bowman - Fish and Wildlife Service | License: Public domain
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