Skirmishers are the same species as the more common, lightly-built Jackals, but they are much faster, stronger, can jump higher and are more agile than any ordinary Kig-Yar. In addition, they sport manes of feathers rather than quills. A Skirmisher's voice is more raspy and guttural - this is because they have an expanded voice chamber in their throat. Skirmishers serve as Covenant shock troopers, while the more lightly built Jackals see deployment as the dedicated ranger or sniper units. Even so, Skirmishers can be snipers as well. In engagements prior to 2530, mixed units were more common. However, this changed toward the end of the Human-Covenant war.
The Covenant uses Skirmishers as close-range combatants, attacking in packs and using flanking tactics (as opposed to Jackals, who are often used as defensive and long-range combatants and assassins). Physically, they seem to be similar to regular Jackals, though in combat they do not wield large, rounded energy shields like the Jackals. High-ranking Skirmishers do wear point defense gauntlets or wrist shields, medium-sized ovular shields strapped onto their wrists, to help them deflect bullets and light plasma fire. Their head shape appears to be more avian than their cousins; their skin tone is noticeably darker and not yellowish. They also run much faster than Jackals and can jump incredible heights. Their eyes are yellow with slitted pupils, as opposed to bulbous and pale. They also seem to have a hybrid mouth that seems to be like a beak at the end.
They saw extensive action during the Fall of Reach, and as a result of the catastrophically high casualties, the Skirmisher ranks were utterly exhausted and the Skirmishers themselves were nearly wiped out.
It is also known that Skirmishers have reached speeds of up to 45 miles per hour when running.
Skirmishers play an intermediate role between the cannon fodder Grunts and the powerful Elites and Brutes, equivalent to Jackals. The main distinction is that they most often play a harassing role in combat, supporting heavier units with fast attacks in multiple directions. Skirmishers are dangerous both in long range and short range combat. Like their Jackal cousins, they tend to be very accurate shooters. Their most distinguishing feature is their speed; they can outrun any other Covenant species, and even Spartans. They also make great use of their jumping abilities, which are comparable to those of the Flood. They can leap up into or onto buildings to escape enemy fire or to assault their occupants, and rush to capture strategic locations on the battlefield. Their armor is surprisingly resilient and can withstand some small-arms fire as well as splash damage from explosives, making head shots the most effective means of killing them. The Murmillo ranked Skirmishers use elbow-mounted Defense Gauntlets for additional protection, and the Champion, Commando, and Murmillo will use hologram equipment to misdirect their foes.
Skirmishers do have their weaknesses. They are not issued with grenades and cannot board, making them relatively helpless against vehicles. They can only rely on their agility to avoid being splattered. A Skirmisher is also no match for a Spartan's strength in hand-to-hand combat, and in game they have no melee ability, making them just as vulnerable to being beaten down as their lesser Jackal cousins. Also, they have a larger head than their thinner headed cousins, and a well-trained Spartan, marksman-type weapon, can easily dome one effectively and efficiently.
|Champion||The Champion is the highest rank of the Skirmishers, a specialized group of shock troops comprising of more heavily built Kig-Yar, deployed on the ground for their viciousness and fierce tactics. Members of this rank have gold armor and helmets. They appear to be the leading rank of Skirmishers, being neither infantry nor specialists.|
|Commando||Members of this rank have bright green armor and a helmet, and will occasionally use holograms to deceive the enemy.|
|Murmillo||Members of this rank have bright orange armor, a helmet, and arm shields. They have more equipment on than any other Skirmisher ranking.|
|Major||Members of this rank have red feathers and red-brown armor.|
|Minor||The lowest rank of Skirmisher; members of this rank have black feathers and gray armor.|
- Skirmishers are the second (first being a cloaked Spec Ops Sangheili) Covenant species encountered in Halo: Reach, but only as a red dot on your radar. Later on a couple can be seen accompanied by a couple of Grunts. When the player runs through the house in which the radar dot appears and if one quickly looks up when exiting the building, it can swiftly be seen jumping out of sight. If one is good with the pistol, the Skirmisher can be killed.
- There are actually black Jackals similar in appearance to Skirmishers in Halo: Combat Evolved which also adorned headgear similar to that in Halo 3 and Reach.
- The Skirmisher makes its first appearance in Halo: Reach.
- Skirmishers bear a notable physical resemblance to the Dromaeosaurs and velociraptor.
- Occasionally, Commando Skirmishers will deploy holograms to distract the player.
- Because Skirmishers were created for Halo: Reach, they have never been witnessed or mentioned in the games or novels which take place after the events of Reach. However there is a Skirmisher in Halo: The Thursday War by Karen Traviss named Sav Fel. Bungie has suggested that the warrior Skirmishers were almost wiped out during the Fall of Reach.
- Higher-ranking Skirmishers fight more efficiently than other Kig-Yar and lower ranking Skirmishers. Tactics utilized include constantly strafing targets, and often alternating use of their two point-defense gauntlets to let the other recharge. These gauntlets, while not nearly as large as those that Jackals wield, are used very effectively by Skirmishers to protect themselves.
- Skirmishers are notably more durable than their Jackal cousins, able to survive explosions in proximity to them as well as being able to withstand several rounds from the Human weapons.
- Skirmishers are currently the most agile Covenant species ever seen and they can jump up buildings and can run at incredible speeds. They can also leap away from grenades or other attacks very quickly. Due to their agility and speed, even some Spartans have been known to have difficulty keeping up with them.
- Kig-Yar (Jackal)