Bob and others:  After looking through many books for the last couple of hours I 
think it is very hard to argue the Jaeger is anything other than a Long-tailed 
for many reasons already mentioned.  Nail looks to be at least half the bill, 
the outer two primaries are white  (yes, the third one is light brown - but this 
is mentioned in Kaufman Advanced birding as occurring).  I never observed the 
bird very close, as I mentioned in my previous post.  However, what I did see 
behavior wise and flight was characteristic of the very few Parasitics I have 

Bottom line - Jaegers are tough and we learn from these experiences.   Glad 
Kristi got out there on a boat! 

 Joshua Uffman
St. Louis County, MO
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Bird Photos: 

From: Bob Fisher <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 9:10:28 PM
Subject: Jaeger ID and the Jaeger is ...

Tim, Josh, Doug and now Kristi herself have opined that the Smithville bird is a 
Parasitic. Let me make the case for Long-tailed Jaeger using Kristi's photo. 
Perhaps it will help folks taking the pelagic trip tomorrow know what to look 
First of all, we have a great photo to work with. Here are some comments re what 
can be seen on the photo:
General comment: Kristi's bird is a light morph juvenile of whatever species it 

Head color:  The bird has a pale head, which is characteristic of first year 
Long-tailed Jaegers.
Bill size: The bill appears to compare satisfactorily with LTJA bills. 
Parasitic's have bills that are longer in proportion to their thickness. See 

Nape markings: According to Sibley, Parasitic has a streaked nape. See 
e.g. LTJA has an unpatterned nape. 
The Smithville bird's nape looks unstreaked. 

Feather  edgings: Both species have pale feather edgings, but Sibley describes 
Parasitic's as "buffy feather edges" and LTJA's as "usually obvious pale feather 
edges". Kristi's bird has pale, but not buffy, edges. 

General plumage coloration:  Kristi's bird fits Sibley's "Juvenile cold grayish" 
for LTJA versus "Juvenile usually has obvious cinnamon tones  in plumage" for 
Parasitic. See e.g. the cinnamon tones in PAJA depicted in
White in primaries: Kristi's bird has very little white in primaries, as one 
would expect of LTJA. Parasitic should have a lot more.
See e.g.
Careful examination of Tim's, Josh's and even Kristi's revised ID disclose a lot 
of subjective stuff (e.g. "bulky bird, not slender looking") from people who see 
Jaegers only very rarely.
There is one mark favoring Parasitic that Kristi's first photo may show, but 
which cannot be seen in the more recent photo. The central tail feathers of a 
juvenile Parasitic should be pointed. Those of a LTJA should be blunt. I'll be 
looking for those tomorrow.  
Bob Fisher
Independence, MO
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