Long-tailed Jaeger
(Stercorarius longicaudus)


Picture of bird
© Charles M. Francis, CWS
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Long-tailed Jaeger breeds widely across the Canadian Arctic and winters at sea in the Southern Hemisphere. They are regular but relatively rare visitors to waters off the coast of British Columbia. Although found in Pacific Canada from early May through early November, peak abundance occurs in May and again in August and September (Kenyon et al. 2009); likely mirroring their pre- and post-breeding migrations. Despite being the most widespread and abundant jaeger in North America, few surveys provide repeated counts over time. Therefore, its population status in Canada relative to about 1970 remains unknown.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaData DeficientData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada100,000 - 200,000 breeding birds

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between late May and early June and ends between mid-July and late July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

Long-tailed Jaegers prey heavily on lemmings, and the abundance of lemmings may influence jaegers' reproductive success (Wiley and Lee 1998). Disruptions in the cycle of lemming abundance is a predicted consequence of global climate change, already observed in the European Arctic (Post et al. 2009). However, the impact of fluctuations in lemming densities on Long-tailed Jaeger populations is not clear. More research is needed to gain an understanding of the population regulation in Long-tailed Jaeger.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type