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a family of birds of the order Chara-driiformes; the birds are related to gulls. The body length is 45–60 cm. The cere of the bill consists of separate scales. The middle retrices are elongate. Birds of the same species may be completely brown or may have a light abdomen.
There are two genera: Stercorarius and Catharacta. The former has three species—the pomarine jaeger (S. pomarius), the parasitic jaeger (S. parasiticus), and the long-tailed jaeger (S. longicaudus)—which are distributed in arctic and subarctic regions. Jaegers winter in tropical waters. The genus Catharacta embraces a single species, the great skua (C. skua), which is found at both poles. The bird dwells in Iceland, on the Faeroes, and in northern Scotland; its range also extends from 40° S lat. to Antarctica. Jaegers and skuas inhabit tundra and, more commonly, seacoasts.
A clutch contains two eggs, which are incubated for 28 to 30 days. The young leave the nest after 30 to 40 days. The birds feed on fish, which they often steal from gulls, guillemots, and other birds. They also eat invertebrates, rodents, and berries; the birds often raid the nests of other birds.