Skuas Of Vietnam – Stercorariidae
Stercorariidae is a family of seabirds that includes the four species of jaegers or skuas. These birds are known for their predatory behavior, often stealing food from other birds or scavenging for carrion. There are 2 species Skuas of Vietnam that can be found, the Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus) and Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus).
Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus)
The Pomarine Jaeger is a medium-sized bird with a wingspan of around 1 meter. The adult birds have striking plumage in the breeding season, a black cap and collar, and a distinctive spoon-shaped tail. They have a dark brown back and wings, and a white belly. During the non-breeding season, their plumage becomes duller, with a brownish-grey back and wings.
In Vietnam, the Pomarine Jaeger can be found primarily in the coastal waters of the South China Sea. They are migratory birds, breeding in Eurasia and North America’s Arctic tundra and spending the winter in the Southern Hemisphere. They can be seen in Vietnam during their migration season, which is from August to October.
The Pomarine Jaeger is a solitary bird, except during the breeding season when they form pairs. They are known for their aggressive behavior, often attacking other birds and forcing them to drop their prey, which the Pomarine Jaeger steals. They are also known to scavenge for carrion, and will even take food from the mouths of other birds.
Despite their predatory behavior, Pomarine Jaegers are also vulnerable to threats, particularly habitat loss, and pollution. Climate change is also a concern, as it affects the availability of food for these birds. The conservation status of the Pomarine Jaeger is currently of “Least Concern” according to the IUCN Red List, although their population is believed to be declining.
In Vietnam, the Pomarine Jaeger is not a commonly sighted bird, and birdwatchers must travel to the coastal regions to have a chance to observe them. One popular spot to see them is in the waters surrounding Con Dao Islands, where they can be seen during the migration season. Birdwatchers can also hire local guides to help them locate the birds.
In conclusion, the Pomarine Jaeger is the only member of the Stercorariidae family found in Vietnam. These medium-sized seabirds are known for their predatory behavior and distinctive plumage during the breeding season. Although not commonly sighted in Vietnam, birdwatchers can still have a chance to observe them in the coastal waters during their migration season. However, conservation efforts must be taken to protect these birds from threats such as habitat loss and pollution and to ensure their continued survival
Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus)
The Parasitic Jaeger, also known as Arctic Skua, is a large seabird in the family Stercorariidae, which can be found in the waters around Vietnam. This bird is a powerful and aggressive predator that feeds on other seabirds and marine creatures, such as fish and crustaceans. Its breeding range extends across the Arctic tundra, while its winter range encompasses the oceans of the southern hemisphere. During the migration season, the Parasitic Jaeger can be seen in the coastal waters of Vietnam as it travels to its wintering grounds.
One of the distinguishing features of the Parasitic Jaeger is its long, pointed wings, which give it a streamlined appearance that is well-suited to its predatory lifestyle. This bird has a dark brown plumage, with a lighter underbelly, and a distinctive white wing patch that can be seen during flight. The Parasitic Jaeger has a strong, hooked bill that it uses to tear flesh from its prey, and its legs and feet are also well-adapted for hunting on land and in water.
The Parasitic Jaeger is known for its aggressive behavior, especially during the breeding season. These birds will often harass and chase other seabirds, including gulls and terns, to steal their food or force them to regurgitate their meals. The Parasitic Jaeger is also known to engage in aerial displays and battles, with males and females often fighting each other over territory and mates.
In Vietnam, the Parasitic Jaeger can be seen along the coast and offshore during the migration season, from late September to early April. These birds are often observed flying low over the water, with their long wings and streamlined body allowing them to cover long distances quickly. They can also be seen perching on buoys, boats, and other structures near the coast, where they rest and scan the surrounding waters for potential prey.
While the Parasitic Jaeger is not considered endangered, it is still vulnerable to threats such as habitat loss, climate change, and overfishing. In some regions, these birds are also hunted for sport or for their feathers, which are used in traditional clothing and accessories. To protect the Parasitic Jaeger and other seabirds, conservation efforts are being made to establish protected areas, promote sustainable fishing practices, and raise public awareness about the importance of these birds and their habitats.
Overall, the Parasitic Jaeger is a fascinating and impressive bird that plays an important role in the ecosystem of Vietnam’s coastal waters. Its aggressive behavior and predatory nature make it a top predator of the marine environment, and its long-distance migrations bring it to new and distant places each year. By learning more about the Parasitic Jaeger and other seabirds, we can better understand and appreciate the complex and interconnected web of life that exists in the world’s oceans.