Pomarine Jaeger

Range Map
Stercorarius pomarinus

Birds that are called jaegers in the Americas are called “skuas” elsewhere. Skuas and jaegers are members of the genus Stercorarius, and the three species we call jaegers are the smallest representatives of the genus.

The Pomarine Jaeger is the largest of the three jaegers. They are found in tropical oceans over much of the globe. But their breeding grounds are around the globe along the coastal regions of the Arctic zones of North America and Eurasia.

Jaegers are consummate predators in all seasons. When breeding in high Arctic circumpolar latitudes, lemmings are their preferred prey. But when their breeding season ends, they wander south and patrol the oceans in search of smaller seabirds to prey on. They practice kleptoparasitism by bullying shearwaters, gulls or other unfortunate airborne birds. They force their victims to surrender the bounty as they are bound for deliver food to their hungry offspring waiting at their nest-sites.

I have met this species twice. My first meeting occurred in 2012 near the beach by the mouth of the Tijuana River as it pursued terns just past the beach break. My second encounter was off the central Baja California coast. I was on the south-bound leg of the 2017 science expedition I participated in to the Revillagigedo Islands.

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