Long-tailed Jaeger (Stercorarius longicaudus)

Number of accepted Long-tailed Jaeger records for Louisiana = 4 as of October 2017

Accepted Records

One female (1965-03) on 24 April 1965, Cameron: West Jetty Calcasieu Pass; S. A. Gauthreaux and Angelo W. Palmisano (LSUMZ 35513). Photo of this first record for Louisiana (Lowery 1974) on p. 12.
Photo by Donna L. Dittmann

One female in second alternate "intermediate morph" plumage (90-106) on 28 May 1990, Gulf of Mexico: approx. 15-17 mi. S mouth of South Pass of the Mississippi River; Steven W. Cardiff (LSUMZ 139592) and Donna L . Dittmann (*) (AB44 (3):441). This is the second Louisiana record.

One 1st year (2002-47) on 29 May 2002, Gulf of Mexico: approximately 51 mi. ESE of mouth South Pass of Mississippi River, 28o36'04.1"N, 88o25'07.1"W; Steven W. Cardiff and B. Mac Myers III (LSUMZ 173465), Donna L. Dittmann (*); NAB56(3):316. This is the third accepted record and specimen for the state.

One juvenile (2016-023) on 10 September 2016, Gulf of Mexico: 19 mi. SE South Pass Mississippi River, N28.80º, W88.93º; Joan Garvey (ph), Robert C. Dobbs (ph) , and Oscar Johnson (ph). This is the fourth Louisiana occurrence.

Photos by Oscar Johnson (1, 2) and Joan Garvey (3)

Unaccepted Records

One adult light phase in alternate plumage (88-1) on 3 Jan. 1988 (GICBC), Jefferson: Grand Isle. Although the details, and especially the accompanying drawings (most notably tail length and coloration of mantle and wings), were suggestive of this species, the duration of the observation (10-12 seconds) and distant viewing conditions (500 yards) were considered inadequate for a conclusive identification. Additionally, the size and some plumage characteristics reported by the observer were just as suggestive of Parasitic Jaeger. A winter record of an adult Long-tailed Jaeger in alternate plumage in the northern hemisphere would be so outstanding as to require more conclusive documentation.

One in Juvenal plumage (1992-079) on 27 August 1992, Iberville: 3.7 mi. N St. Gabriel, 545 Pecan Dr. This bird was seen the day after Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Louisiana. Although the description was fairly convincing for this species, the observation was very brief. Given the difficulty of immature jaeger identification, and in the absence of hard-evidence for what would have been just the third Louisiana occurrence (and first from fall and from inland), nearly all Members agreed that this observation was best left as “jaeger sp.”

One Juvenal plumaged dark morph (1996-088) on 25 August 1996, Washington: 8 mi. W Bush on Bogue Chitto River. This observation was not associated with tropical weather and the bird was observed soaring above the forest. These aspects of the report, plus a generally unconvincing description and lack of hard-evidence, all contributed toward the final decision not to accept.

Two light to intermediate juveniles (2014-114) on 18 September 2014, Caddo: Shreveport, Cross Lake, John M. Ford Regional Park. The observation was hampered by distance and the identification was based almost entirely on “jizz.” The observer was not able to see and count the white rachises on the outer primaries, a field mark that is extremely important to separate Long-tailed from other jaegers. Other plumage details important in ascertaining age were also not described: under wing barring, rump pattern, leg color, etc. All Members ultimately believed that the photographs and description did not support identification of a potential first interior and fourth overall Louisiana occurrence.