Arctic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus
(aka Arctic Skua, Parasitic Jaeger / Skua)
Juvenile Arctic Skua, Aberlady, Lothian, Scotland, September 2002 - click for larger image

Scotland

Collins Bird Guide says: "The successful identification of Jaegers in the field requires a lot of practice." Despite my relative lack of knowledge of Jaegers to begin with, I concluded that the first 3 photos were of a juvenile Arctic Jaeger. It is a bit like a dark gull but also looks a bit like a falcon. There are white panels on the wings which are more obvious on the underside than above.

Juvenile Arctic Skua, Aberlady, Lothian, Scotland, September 2002 - click for larger image Arctic Jaegers breed in the Arctic and sub-arctic areas of Eurasia and North America including northern Scotland, Scandinavia and Iceland. They start to migrate south from August onwards and winter off the coasts of South America, southern Africa and Australasia. Adults arrive back in Scottish colonies in late April.

During the breeding season, they feed on birds, small mammals, berries and insects. Outside the breeding season they obtain food by piracy, chasing birds such as terns and gulls until they drop whatever they are eating. The third photograph shows a skua chasing what I believe is a sub-adult Herring Gull.

Skua chasing Gull, Aberlady, Lothian, Scotland, September 2002 - click for larger image There are two principal adult plumages: the dark morph seen in photos 4 and 5; and the light morph seen in photos 6 and 7. The dark morph birds decrease relative to the light morph birds as one moves northwards. There are illustrations in HBW, Volume 3, Pages 557, 564, 567 and 568.
Dark morph Arctic Skua, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image
Dark morph Arctic Skua, Westray, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image
Light morph Arctic Skua, Westray, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image
Light morph Arctic Skua, Westray, Orkney, Scotland, May 2003 - click for larger image
Light morph Arctic Skua, Mainland, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
Dark and light morph Arctic Skuas, Mousa, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
Light morph Arctic Skua, Unst, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
Previous Page Back to Index Next Page

If you do not see a menu on the left, you may have arrived at this page from another site. Please click Home to get to my main page. Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites