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Help with a gull

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I saw this bird yesterday at Sandy Hook New Jersey. I assumed a great black-backed gull, but the orange around the eye and on the beak is confusing me. Is that non-breeding coloring? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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That is normal. The color around the eye is a patch of bare skin called the orbital ring. The red spot on the bill is called a gonys spot. These are normal features on adult birds and in some cases can be helpful for identification.

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I guess what I meant to ask was.. the color seems much lighter than I'm used to seeing, especially on the beak. I'm used to seeing more of a reddish color, not that light orange like with this bird... Does this coloration indicate anything, or is it just a variation of pigmentation?

Great black-backed gull -Barnegat Lighthouse State Park, NJ .JPG

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