PARASITIC JAEGER(Stercorarius parasiticus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Parasitic Jaeger or Arctic Skua is a pelagic seabird comes in different plumages (morphs). One morph has dark grey-brown plumage overall. Another morph is grey for the upper parts with a black cap and white cheeks, a grey-white breast and white under parts. The bill, legs and webbed feet are dark grey. When in flight the longer central tail feathers are visible. Both sexes are similar. The parasitic jaeger measures around 45 cm (18 inches) long.
NAME: The English name ‘Jaeger’ comes from German and means ‘hunter’. And hunt this bird does, stealing prey from other birds, hence the adjective ‘parasitic’ both in the English and Latin names. The Latin genus name ‘Stercorarius’ refers to ‘dung’, as this species goes after fish scraps (offal) from fishing vessels.
HABITAT: When not breeding in the tundra, these birds can spend their whole time at sea, usually above the continental shelf.
DIET: Parasitic jaegers hunt other birds until they disgorge their catches while at sea. When on land (for breeding), they will prey on rodents, as well as birds and insects.
NESTING: The nest of the parasitic jaeger is a small depression on the ground. One or two green-brown eggs are laid, which are incubated by both parents. The chicks are fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: The breeding range of this jaeger covers the tundra and coastal areas in the Arctic. For the winter it can be observed offshore along the coasts of the southern USA, Mexico, and of the Southern Hemisphere. Some vagrants have also reached Hawaii. (See note below for information on bird vagrancy.)
Distribution map:
ON PEI: The parasitic jaeger does not breed on Prince Edward Island, and its occurrence is listed as ‘accidental’ (summer), and ‘rare’ to ‘uncommon’ (fall), depending on the years.
CONSERVATION: The population of this jaeger is widespread and large enough that it 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, Long-tailed Jaeger
Parasitic Jaeger – Fish & Wildlife Service, Alaska (.pdf document) (parasitic jaeger) (Norwegian Polar Institute)

Parasitic Jaeger – Handa Island, Northern Highlands, Scotland – June 4, 2012 – Donald Macauley
Parasitic jaeger, by Donald Macauley
Parasitic Jaeger immature off Malpe, India – Oct. 2011 – L. Shyamal
Parasitic jaeger immature, L. Shyamal
Parasitic Jaeger, dark morph – Norwick Ward – June 3, 2006 – Mike Pennington
Parasitic jaeger dark morph, Mike Pennington