Saturday, July 23, 2016

Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus) - 20May2016

The Pomarine Jaeger known as Pomarine Skua outside of the Americas is a pirate of the high seas.  It is the largest of the three Jaegers normally seen in NC waters (Parasitic, Long-tailed and Pomarine).  Oddly enough it's mitochondrial DNA reveals it's closest relative is actually the Great Skua, although it looks morphologically more similar to the other Jaegers.  From Wiki: "The word jaeger is derived from the German word Jager, meaning hunter.  The genus name Stercorarius is Latin and means "of dung"; the food disgorged by other birds when pursued by skuas was once thought to be excrement."
The hunter of dung!  Of course it is not dung they hunt but the partially digested food from other birds.

The dark brown morphs are the snazziest of the color morphs in my opinion.

All these pictures were taken on one of the Spring Blitz pelagics on Patteson's boat the Stormy Petrel II.

The central tail feathers are nicknamed "Spoons". You could eat a bowl of cereal with this particular bird's spoons.

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