Parasitic Jaeger

photo by Phil Swanson

Stercorarius parasiticus
L 19″ (48 cm) W 42″ (107 cm).

Song or calls:
Wailing “ka-aaow,” or piercing “tok-tok” cries.

Description: Sexes similar. Smaller and more slender than Pomarine Jaeger; faster wing stroke. Longer central tail feathers are pointed. Light phase brown above; white below; black cap; yellow wash on throat; brown breast band; lacks barring on flanks. Dark phase uniformly brown. Juvenile is brown with black barring overall.

Habitat: Nests on the tundra, and spends the rest of the year on the open ocean.

Where in Nebraska: Accidental. Early record from Lancaster County in 1898, and more recent specimen from Sheridan County collected in 1968.

Fun Facts: Highly dependent on lemmings, the Parasitic Jaeger will abandon breeding areas when lemming numbers are low (about every 4 years).

Additional Information: Jaeger comes from the German word for hunter, as they are predatory on their breeding grounds. They become pirates on the ocean and often rob other seabirds of their prey.

Parasitic Jaeger - photo by Phil Swanson Parasitic Jaeger - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)