Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2018-39


Common name:

Long-tailed Jaeger

Scientific name: Stercorarius longicaudus
Date: 9/5/18
Time: 9:50 AM
Length of time observed: 9 Minutes
Number: 1
Age: Juvenile
Sex: unknown
Location: Route 128, just east of junction to Moab. Approx 2.4 miles west of Cisco.
County:  
Latilong: 3855.6"N 10918.4"W
Elevation: 4400 feet
Distance to bird: 75 feet or less
Optical equipment: 10x Image Stabilized Binoculars, Canon SX60 Camera, Swarovski ATX95 Spotting Scope
Weather: Calm, temp approx 70F
Light Conditions: Light Overcast
Description:        Size of bird: Similar to medium-sized gull.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Gull-like.
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Head and neck gray, wings and tail dark with light mottling.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Rather short, slightly hooked.
(Description:)                              
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
First view, in flight, the bird had long slender wings and a gull-like appearance, but mottled coloration and bill shape suggested immediately some type of Jaeger. Mottled coloring, such as this bird has, is present on juvenile Jaegers. ID of Long-tailed is based on 1) Overall gray color. 2) Feather edgings are whitish on the body and the primaries. 3) Strong straight barring on vent and undertail coverts. and 4) Bill size and shape, along with the amount of pale area at the base.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Bird was silent.
Behavior: While driving along the road, this bird lifted up off of the ground and flew just ahead and to the side of the vehicle, giving views from the back. It then landed, and allowed a reasonably close approach by the vehicle. After standing for awhile, it sat down and remained sitting until we departed.
Habitat: Desert. (highly unusual location for this species)
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Three Jaeger types in North America.

Pomarine would have a brownish hue instead of the gray color seen on this bird. It would have a heavier bill. It would have a heavier build and broader wings.

Parasitic would have a brownish hue instead of the gray color seen on this bird. It would have a longer, more slender bill. At least some of the feather edgings would be Buffy or rustier, especially on the wing tips. The barring on the vent and undertail coverts would be fainter.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen several adult Long-tailed Jaegers on Pelagic birding trips off the coast of California.
References consulted: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds, 7th edition. "Birds of North America" online, Cornell Lab of Orinthology. Paul Lehman, personal correspondence.
Description from: From memory
From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Glenn Kincaid
Observer's address: HC64 Box 2404 Castle Valley Utah 84532
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Steve Heinrich
Date prepared: 9/5/18
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: