Seabird the size of a medium seagull (about 45 cm or 17.5 in), with narrow, long and pointed wings. Variable plumage, with clear phases and other darker ones. The clear phase has a greyish brown back, a white belly and grey breast stripes. White throat and head, with a dark cap. Yellowish cheeks and neck. The dark phase usually shows dark brown upperparts and underparts, with carpal spots (in the lower area of the wing, at the height of the carpus). The tail shows two long, pointed central feathers. Dark legs and bill. Agile flight, like that of a raptor.
Where it lives
Common species on the Atlantic and Cantabrian coast but more scarce in the Mediterranean. Breeding colonies on islands and coastal prairies of the tundra. In winter, it prefers waters close to the coast. Less pelagic habits than other jaegers.
How it lives
Wintering bird in the province and also present during its migratory passages. Very aggressive. The Parasitic Jaeger breeds in colonies. One annual laying from April of 1 to 3 eggs. Predator and opportunist, it feeds on rodents, eggs and chicks of other seabirds. In winter this seabird consumes especially fish that it obtains robbing gulls and terns (kleptoparasitism) after chasing, attacking and harassing them until they release the prey.
Where it can be seen in Malaga
Strictly marine species whose observations take place from the coast or especially from boats. From late summer to spring they can be watched in the bay of Malaga and in other parts of the Malaga coast, especially at the Punta de Calaburras.
Kleptoparasite birds obtain their food by stealing it from other birds that have invested effort and time in obtaining it. This strategy involves a clear energy saving (or shows the inability to get the food by themselves) but also a risk since the robbed bird can attack the thief. For this reason, skuas are very aggressive. It is a way to ensure success in their strategy. Parasite skuas parasitize mostly seagulls and terns. With respect to the latter, these thief birds take advantage of terns' ability to dive and exploit a very specialized resource that they are unable to achieve otherwise.