Jump to content
Whatbird Community

Recommended Posts

Because of both red and black on the bill at the same time I feel like California Gull but the legs are pink. Thought maybe Herring Gull because they also can have the red and black at the same time but it seems like more of juvenile thing in Herring Gulls. The eye is not bright yellow, but not black, either but somewhere in between. Western Gull would have an all white head this time of year but not the bill thing. I'm awful with gulls.

IMG_6219.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or probably just a Glaucous Winged and I'm worrying too much about the black and red? The head being pure white also makes me doubt that. Hybrid?

Edited by zipzilla

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a typical nonbreeding Glaucous-winged Gull. I think you’re focusing on the wrong parts of the body. For example, the head and bill color are not the first things you should look at for adult gull ID. 

First, observe how bulky this bird is and how large that bill is. This can rule out Iceland, Ring-billed, California, Mew, etc. Second, the wingtip color is probably the most important feature: see how the back and wingtips have the same color? Many other gulls that you considered have black wingtips, not gray ones. And Glaucous Gulls have white wingtips. That in itself should say Glaucous-winged. Third, other confirming unique ID features include the band of white on the wing forming a “skirt” and fairly dark eyes.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, akandula said:

For example, the head and bill color are not the first things you should look at for adult gull ID. 

That alone was worth getting online this morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adults of nearly all large, white-headed gulls can show black on the bill outside of breeding season (another example).

The bill is a useful character in gull ID, but knowing the range of variation in both color and shape of each species makes that feature much more useful.

One of the very useful features that most birders don't know is the presence or absence of a skirt. That term refers to the white tips of the secondaries showing below the greater coverts on a standing, folded-wing individual -- it is the horizontal line of white extending nearly from the legs back to the tertials tips on your bird. The skirt is created by the long secondaries of certain species that expose the secondary tips on perched birds, whereas, most gull have shorter secondaries that aren't exposed.

All of the Pacific Rim species (Slaty-backed, Glaucous-winged, Western, Yellow-footed) show that feature, while all others don't, though one has to beware of drooped wings. Since Glaucous-winged is the only one of these four species that are pale-mantled, this makes for a quick ID.

Another useful feature are the scapular and tertial crescents (see here).

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd suggest it could be Glaucous-winged x Western Gull as the total lack of brownish smudging on the head and neck seems unusual for a winter Glaucous-winged. Paler eye color strongly supports this conclusion. The primaries are also slightly darker than average, though perhaps within range, for Glaucous-winged Gull.

I'd call this bird a Glaucous-winged x Western Gull but more on the Glaucous-winged side of things.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...