Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus)

This brave bird has been known to attack much larger birds and steal their prey. They are also known as sea hawks by fishermen.


This is the largest of the three Arctic species. It has two colour phases, a dark and a light. The dark phase birds are a sooty brown dorsally with a pale brown underside, while the more common light phase is almost pure white. Their middle two tail feathers are blunt-ended, often twisted, and extend 8-10 cm beyond the rest of the tail. The broad, twisted tail feathers distinguish the pomarine jaeger from the other two species of jaeger.


The pomarine jaeger has a circumpolar range, being absent only from parts of northeastern Canada and Greenland. This bird winters on tropical or temperate shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


Pomarine jaegers defend a large nesting territory and the parents share egg incubation duties for four weeks. The downy chicks- usually 2- leave the nest within a few days, split up and settle several metres apart- this is most likely an adaptation to prevent predation of both offspring at once. The pomarine jaeger is the most versatile feeder of all the jaegers, usually catching its own prey of lemmings and other rodents, but it will also parasitize other birds if resources are scarce.