Bird of the Week – Parasitic Jaeger


Back in June, we looked at a Long-tailed Jaeger. This is one of that species’ relatives, the Parasitic Jaeger.

Parasitic Jaeger, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

Parasitic Jaeger, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

Even among gulls and jaegers, Parasitic Jaegers are unsavory characters. A major part of their diet is obtained through kleptoparasitism. They steal food from other birds, either by harassing the other birds till they drop if or, if it’s been swallowed, until the victim regurgitates it. Alaska-breeding Parasitic Jaegers aren’t exclusively kleptoparasites, unlike their east Atlantic cousins. Alaska’s birds also hunt and, truth be told, steal eggs. Hey, it’s a living.

Parasitic Jaeger in Flight

Parasitic Jaeger in Flight

Parasitic Jeager are among the least known, least studied birds that breed in North America. They breed in the coastal margins of western and northern Alaska, but spend the rest of their lives in the south Pacific Ocean. It is the scarcest and least studied of the three jaegers in the Arctic, and almost nothing is known of its life during winter in the southern hemisphere.

Parasitic Jaeger on a Nest, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

Parasitic Jaeger on a Nest, Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

The largest North American jaeger, the Pomarine Jaeger, also breeds in Alaska. Someday maybe WC will get a photo of one.

For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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