Tuesday, February 7

Arctic jaeger

   ›      ›   Arctic jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus.

The Arctic jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) belongs to the skua and jaeger family Stercorariidae.

These jaeger species are distributed in North America, North Europe and North Asia. Wintering Arctic jaeger populations occur in the oceanic coasts of Southern Hemisphere. These species of birds obtain most or all of food by kleptoparasitism, robbing gulls and terns of their catches. The Arctic jaeger is a monotypic species.

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

Arctic jaeger - Overview

  • Scientific name: Stercorarius parasiticus
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Larus parasiticus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Family: Stercorariidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Arctic jaeger, Chinese: 短尾贼鸥, French: Labbe parasite, German: Schmarotzerraubmöwe, Spanish: Págalo parásito, Russian: Короткохвостый поморник, Japanese: クロトウゾクカモメ, Indonesian: Burung Camar Kejar Arktik
  • Other names: Parasitic Jaeger, Arctic Skua, Richardson's Jaeger, parasitic skua
  • Distribution: North America, North Asia, North Europe, wintering in oceans of Southern Hemisphere
  • Diet and feeding habits: mostly fish, kleptoparasitic
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)
The Arctic jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) is closely related to long-tailed jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus) and pomarine skua (Stercorarius pomarinus).

Appearance, physical description and identification

The Arctic jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) is a large bird, measuring 45 cm in length and weighting 350 to 600 grams. The wingspan is 110 to 125 cm.
The dark morphs of Arctic jaeger species have dark brown plumage. The light colored morphs have light brown back and white underparts. The primary wing feathers are dark. The head and neck are whitish and there is a black cap. The central tail feathers are pointed and project as tail streamers.

The intermediate morphs have dark backs and somewhat paler head, neck and underparts. All adult birds have white wing flashes. The beak is pale gray and the feet are webbed and dark gray. The irises are black. Their call is a nasal mewing sound sound.
Birds of India - Picture of Arctic jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus
Indian birds- Image of Arctic jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus
Indian birds - Picture of Arctic jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus
Birds of India - Photo of Arctic jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus by Donald Macauley
Birds of India - Picture of Arctic jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus
Indian birds - Image of Arctic jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus by Mike Prince
Indian birds - Photo of Arctic jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus
Birds of India - Picture of Arctic jaeger - Stercorarius parasiticus by Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.net

Origin, geographical range and distribution

The Arctic jaeger species breeding population is distributed in the northern parts of Europe, Asia and America. The wintering populations occur in the oceanic coasts of Southern Hemisphere.

Some of the Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of the Arctic jaeger species in Iceland are Brunasandur and Úthérad. The IBA of these jaeger species in Russia are Lower Yuribey, Upper and Middle Yuribey and Valley of the Yorkutayakha river. The IBA of these species in Sweden is Outer Stockholm archipelago.

The IBA of these jaeger species in United Kingdom are Blackpark and Gutcher, Yell, Moorland Areas, Central Shetland, Crussa Field, the Heogs, Hill of Colvadale and Sobul. The IBA of these species in Norway are Andøya, Froan, Slettnes and Varanger Peninsula.

Ecosystem and habitat

These jaeger species do not normally occur in forests. They inhabit various natural, open, wetland, Arctic and tundra ecosystems. These jaeger species inhabit tundra grassland, shallow seas with macroalgae, seagrass or kelp, coastal upwelling regions, neritic subtidal areas with loose pebble, gravel, sand or mud and tundra wetlands. These species occur in altitudes from 0 to 700 meters.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these Arctic jaeger species is mostly fish, robbed from other sea birds. The primary food is obtained by kleptoparasitism. They also feed occasionally on insects, small rodents, fledglings of other birds, small birds and bird eggs.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these jaeger species is during May and June. Nesting sites are scattered over dry tundras. The nest is an unlined scrape on the ground. Up to four olive brown eggs are laid. These jaegers are highly territorial and will fly at the head of any intruder.

Migration and movement patterns

The Arctic jaeger is a transequatorial migrant bird.
This species breeds on the northernmost coasts of America, Europe and Asia. Post breeding a small number may remain back in the Northern Hemisphere. These species winter in the coasts on major oceans, including Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. The southern coasts of South America, South Africa, Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia are the major wintering grounds.

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the Arctic jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) is estimated to be about 400,000-600,000 individual birds. The overall population size of these jaeger species is considered to be stable. Throughout its range it is reported to be fairly common. The generation length is 13.5 years. Their distribution size is about 148,000,000 sq.km.

The Arctic jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) 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 human activities in the breeding grounds, climate change, severe weather, habitat shifting and alteration 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 Arctic jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Stercorarius parasiticus
Species:S. parasiticus
Binomial name:Stercorarius parasiticus
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
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1.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arctic_skua_(Stercorarius_parasiticus)_on_an_ice_floe,_Svalbard.jpg
Image author: AWeith | License: CC BY-SA 4.0
2.Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arctic_Skua_(7173609049).jpg
Image author: Donald Macauley | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 (as on 06-01-2016)
3.Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeprince/5040993681/in/photostream/
Image author: Mike Prince | License: CC BY 2.0 (as on 06-01-2016)
4.Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Parasitic_Jaeger.jpg
Image author: Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.net | License: CC BY-SA 2.5 (as on 06-01-2016)
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