Steppe Gull - barabensis

(last update: 8-9-2014 )

Coordinator:
Mars Muusse (Netherlands)

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2CY barabensis: February

In Bahrain, barabensis in the numerical most common large gull, with about 70% of the birds belonging to this taxon. Below we (Theo & Mars Muusse) summarize some points taken in the field in Bahrain February - March 2001.

  • 1st generation, juvenile primaries, brown-black without a mirror. P1-p3 outer-web can be as dark as the other innermost primaries resulting in a complete dark inner-hand, but can also be contrastingly pale on both the inner and outer-web of p1-p3. The primaries are worn at the tips, especially p8-p10 (outermost).

  • Tail: 1st generation, with a broad dark sub terminal band.

  • Head shape dove-like with a thumbprint in front of the eye; bill dark, sometimes dark pinkish at the base; iris chestnut-brown at very close range in full sunlight.

  • Upper-parts: the scapulars and mantle are often worn 2nd generation. Different patterns are possible: dark grey-brown centre, paler at the top with a distinct anchor: black accentuated shaft-streak and sub terminal band. Some barabensis show plain slaty-grey 2nd generation scapulars, with or without an accentuated shaft-streak, almost adult-like. Some have just the centre pale brown and have otherwise almost white based scapulars, with a black shaft-streak and two black sub terminal bands.

  • Coverts: most barabensis do not moult any of the coverts, resulting in very worn wing coverts, sometimes leaving only a shaft. About 15% moult median, inner and innermost greater coverts. Sometimes the juvenile greater coverts are not worn, then showing a pale row on the folded wing, created by the white tips of the greater coverts. Fresh 2nd generation inner greater coverts show a pale brown or grey base, darker in the centre and a thin dark brown anchor, while the fringe is white. Older 2nd generation greater coverts, which are already worn in March, show more patterns, not unlike marinus (GBBG).

  • Tertials: often no moult, so still juvenile, plain brown centre and a narrow fringe, somewhat broader at the tip when still fresh (as occurs) but in most cases fringes worn of.

  • Under-wing coverts mottled 1st generation, or already moulted to 1st summer pure white under-wing.

Within the group of 1st winters, 4 classes could be determined and this classification is mentioned in the unidentified 2cy gulls as well (see the unIDed first summer section). It remains to be seen whether they all refer to barabensis, or if certain characteristics better apply to other races. We tried to use this classification for forecasting the under-wing colour and inner primary pattern. More on these result will be added later. Especially birds with advanced moult (class. 4.) were sometimes completely different from the class. 1. birds, also in feather pattern and jizz. These examples are still on the unIDed page and may remain unidentified. However, we believe barabensis can show tremendous variation in spring moult strategy and stage.

Class. 1:
2nd generation mantle and scapulars,
1st generation coverts, tail and tertials,
No active moult,
Often streaking on head, concentrated on lower neck.

Class. 2:
Mantle and scapulars 2nd generation, but lower scapulars acquired at a later stage, obvious differently patterned (often plain grey, resembling Archangelsk type of heuglini),
Actively moulting median, some lesser, inner greater coverts and often a single tertial,
1st generation tail,
Often streaking on head, concentrated on lower neck. 

Class. 3:
3rd generation mantle and scapulars,
Coverts 2nd generation, except outer greater coverts; those actively moulting,
Tertials 2nd generation,
Sometimes actively moulting tail, but at least one tail-feather 2nd generation.

Class. 4:
A grey type, with 3rd generation mantle and scapulars,
Coverts 2nd generation, worn,
Tertials 2nd generation, worn,
Under parts remarkable white,
Tail at least with some new feathers,
Almost no streaking in neck,
On average smaller, slender birds,
Bill is already pale with a distinct black tip.

80+ pictures of "2cy white-headed gulls" in February-March 2001

Although we tried to give a general indication in the 2cy sections of barabensis, cachinnans, heuglini and fuscus, we think many 2cy birds are hard to classify. Actually, considering the current knowledge, it may be best to cluster them as a group, and, with knowledge of 1st winter plumage increasing in future, hope it will be possible that some pictures presented here, will be moved to a section of a certain species/race. We present the pictures as (a rather large page with) mystery photographs. All comments are welcome and will be added/allocated to the pictures.

In many thumbnail images on the right hand side, the presented 2cy birds seem to be somewhat intermediate in characteristics between two or even three species. We give our own opinion in the accompanying text.

Probably many of the pictures presented are in fact barabensis, but this is exactly the one race we do not know of any detailed articles describing plumages of immatures. Again, as in e.g. heuglini, we found two types a: a large, stout type moulting the wing-coverts and tail in one wave at high pace, resulting in a neat looking bird; and b: smaller individuals, remarkable similar to the ones presented in articles dealing with the most western type of heuglini, from NW Russia and immatures from dumping sites in Finland. (se e.g. the excellent article by V. Rauste in Limicola - in German). They seem to originate from the area around Archangelsk, and that's the name sometimes used in captions.

Steppe Gull barabensis 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
Steppe Gull barabensis 2CY, February 28 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
Steppe Gull barabensis 2CY, February 28 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
Steppe Gull barabensis 2CY, February 25 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
Steppe Gull barabensis 2CY, February 27 2001, Ashkar landfill, Bahrain.
80+ "2CY white-headed gulls" in February-March 2001
barabensis-type 2CY, February 24 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 28 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 26 2001, Sittra parking lot, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 25 2001, Chicken farm, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 24 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 24 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 24 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 28 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 28 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 24 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 24 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
barabensis-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
cachinnans-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
cachinnans-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
cachinnans-type 2CY, February 25 2001, Muharraq jetty, Bahrain.
cachinnans-type 2CY, February 28 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
cachinnans-type 2CY, February 24 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
cachinnans-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
heuglini-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
heuglini-type 2CY, February 24 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
heuglini-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Ashkar harbour, Bahrain.
heuglini-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
heuglini-type 2CY, February 27 2001, Manama harbour, Bahrain.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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