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threatened and/or endangered

Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus


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Pomarine Jaeger
credit: Patrick Coin/CCSA

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Family: Laridae, Gulls and Terns view all from this family

Description ADULT Pale morph has dark wings (except for white "flash" at base of primaries) and tail. Head has dark hood, neck is variably flushed with yellow, especially on nape, and otherwise whitish underparts have variable dark breast brand, most striking in females. Dark morph is uniformly dark brown, except for white wing "blazes." JUVENILE Has brown upper wings, barred brown underparts, and barred gray underwings except for white "blaze" at base of primaries. Note stubby central tail extensions and subtly paler rump.

Dimensions Length: 22" (56 cm)

Habitat Nests on high Arctic tundra. Pelagic at other times. Migrates down Atlantic seaboard where it is common Jul-Oct; winters in small numbers.

Observation Tips Seen from pelagic trips, but seldom from land.

Range Great Lakes, California, Northwest, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Eastern Canada, Texas, Plains, Western Canada, Southeast, Florida, Alaska

Voice Silent away from breeding grounds.

Discussion Powerful, stocky seabird with broad, long wings and direct flight. Adult has diagnostic twisted, spoon-shaped extensions to central tail feathers. Latter feature, and larger size, allow separation from daintier Parasitic Jaeger. Harasses other seabirds into regurgitating previous meal, and sometimes kills smaller birds. Sexes are similar, but adults occur in two color morphs.