Mew Gull Larus canus canus; heinei; kamtschatschensis; brachyrhynchus

(last update: March 12, 2012)

Mew Gull (Larus canus) adult: May - August

Mew Gull is a widespread species on the northern hemisphere with several sub-species: in N America brachyrhynchus, in W Europe nominate canus, in W Asia and Russia heinei and in the Far East sub-species kamtschatschensis.
The American race brachyrhynchus is a breeding bird of Alaska, the American West coast and inland Canada. After the breeding season, it disperses south along the coast to California. Brachyrhynchus can be readily told from nominate canus, and therefore sometimes considered a full species: Mew Gull. The differences can be found in the bill (in some birds obviously small), but most in plumage.
Nominate canus is a common breeding bird in North Europe, wintering both in the breeding area and slightly south, to the northern coast of the Mediterranean. 
The race heinei breeds from White Russia eastwards to central Mongolia, in a broad band over the tundra region of inland U.S.S.R. It can be found wintering in the central Asian states, southern Black Sea and Caspian Sea and further south to the Persian Gulf. Part of the eastern population of heinei may follow a more eastern route to the coast of China.
Race kamtschatschensis breeds in eastern Siberia and, as the name indicates, Kamtschatcha. In winter it moves southwards along the coast, wintering in Japan, the Korea's and China. It is the largest race, almost as large as Herring Gull.  The description below largely follows from P.J. Grant: "Gulls, a guide to identification".

ADULT Mew Gull

Mew Gull has a partial moult in spring. It starts in February and is completed by April, leaving birds in so-called "adult summer" plumage. The head turns white, with a red orbital ring. The bill turns all yellow or yellowish-green. In summer, head, neck, tail and under-parts are completely white. The upper-parts are medium grey. The outer primaries are black with large white tips. The inner primaries and secondaries are pale grey with a white tip, creating a white trailing edge. The white crescents on the tertials are very broad.
Adult brachyrhychus normally have a black sub-terminal band on P5-P10. Between this black band and the grey centre, a large white spot is visible both from above and below on P5-P7, creating a string of pearls on these primaries. P9 and P10 show large white mirrors.

Measurements in mm's:
wing canus: 320-385 (Dwight), 321-380 (Birds of West. Paleartic III),
tail: 124-148, bill: 30-38,
tarsus: 48-58; n = 16 (Dwight, 1925); 
wing heinei: 351-395 (BWP III); 
wing brachyrhynchus: 328-366 (Dwight 1925);
wing kamtschatschensis: 365-412 (BWP III).

(The above mentioned data have different sources and probably different measuring techniques. It is therefore better to take the tables from Malling Olsen & Larsson, comparative differences much less likely to be contaminated by differences in techniques, on THIS PAGE.)

Upperpart grey tone:

delawarensis 3-4(5) Malling Olsen & Larsson 4-5 Howell & Dunn
canus 5-6(7) Malling Olsen & Larsson 5-6.5 Howell & Dunn
brachyrhynchus 5.5-7.5 Malling Olsen & Larsson 6-7.5 Howell & Dunn
heinei 6-8 Malling Olsen & Larsson 5.5-7 Howell & Dunn
kamtschatschensis 6-9 Malling Olsen & Larsson 6.5-8 Howell & Dunn

 

"brachyrhynchus" Mew Gull adult May - August

2cy Common Gull (77401 bytes)Mew Gull brachyrhynchus, June 14 2012, Denali NP, Alaska. Picture: Glenda Suebee.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 23 2010, Worthington Glacier, Alaska. Picture: Bud Marschner.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, July 08 2013, Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska. Picture: Jared Hughey.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 07 2011, Anchorage, AK. Picture: Doug.
2cy Common Gull (77401 bytes)Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 27 2013, Potter Marsh, Anchorage, AK. Picture: Marg Higbee.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 07 2014, Juneau, AK. Picture: Jim Gilbert.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, July 11 2012, Sitka National Historical Park, AK. Picture: Arman Moreno.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 20 2012, Potter's Marsh - Anchorage, Alaska. Picture: Jim Hailey.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 16 2013, Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage, AK. Picture: Paul Roberts.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 29 2014, Nome, AK. Picture: Marlin Harms.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 04 2014, Lake Hood - Anchorage, AK. Picture: Linda Bushman.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult May 28 2012, Fairbanks, Alaska. Picture: Cameron Rutt.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 19 2007, Nome, Alaska, USA. Picture: Glen Tepke.
2cy Common Gull (77401 bytes)Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, July 07 2016, Kalsin Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska. Picture: Robin Corcoran.
2cy Common Gull (77401 bytes)Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, July 21 2016, Kalsin Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska. Picture: Robin Corcoran.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 11 2014, Nome, Alaska. Picture: Bryce Robinson.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 28 2014, Nome, AK. Picture: Marlin Harms.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 2016, Alaska. Picture: Michael Clemens.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 11 2012, McKinley Park, Denali Borough, AK. Picture: Don Henise.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 27 2013, Potter Marsh, AK. Picture: Jim Paris.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, July 15 2013, Anchorage Borough, AK. Picture: Dan Touweill.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, July 27 2014, Valdez, Alaska. Picture: Jordan Roderick.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, August 15 2014, Saanichton, BC, Canada. Picture: Edward Kroc.
2cy Common Gull (77401 bytes)Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, August 14 2011, Denali State Park, Alaska. Picture: Dick Daniels.
2cy Common Gull (77401 bytes)Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 10 2010, Yukon Territory, CA. Picture: Keith Williams.
2cy Common Gull (77401 bytes)Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, July 08 2012, Spenard Crossing in Anchorage, Alaska. Picture: Brian Henderson.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 25 2014, Anchorage, Alaska. Picture: Blue.
2cy Common Gull (77401 bytes)Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, July 08 2012, Spenard Crossing in Anchorage, Alaska. Picture: Brian Henderson.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 24 2012, Anchorage, AK. Picture: Kathryn Sheely.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 24 2012, Anchorage, AK. Picture: Kathryn Sheely.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 23 2016, Denali NP, Alaska. Picture: Myles Hurlburt.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, July 15 2010, Potters Marsh, Anchorage, AK. Picture: Nancy Johnston.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 01 2008, Middle Harbor Park; Oakland, CA. Picture: Nancy Johnston.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 01 2008, Middle Harbor Park; Oakland, CA. Picture: Nancy Johnston.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, June 09 2008, College Fjord, AK. Picture: Mike Michaelis.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, July 17 2003, Anchorage, AK. Picture: Bob Y.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 31 2008, Potter's Marsh, Alaska. Picture: Dave Johnson.
Mew Gull brachyrhynchus adult, May 31 2008, Potter's Marsh, Alaska. Picture: Dave Johnson.

"canus" Mew Gull adult May - August

adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult EN37 July 27 2010, Zoetermeerseplas - Zoetermeer, The Netherlands. Picture: Maarten van Kleinwee.
adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult EN58 July 23 2009 & June 17 2010, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands. Picture: Maarten van Kleinwee.
adult Common Gull (78534 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult E419 June 22 2003, Dintelhaven - Maasvlakte, the Netherlands.
adult Common Gull canus in July. (70038 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult A738 July 28 2012, White Sea - Karelia, Russia. Picture: Peter Vorotnikov.
adult Common Gull canus in July. (70038 bytes)Mew Gull canus HES T-117.62? July 16 2004, Tampere, Finland (61.31N, 23.43E).
adult canus in May, ringed in the Netherlands. (90916 bytes)Mew Gull canus NLA 3.720.093 5CY, May 11 2016, Europoort - Dintelhaven, the Netherlands (51.57 N 4.06 E).
adult canus in May, ringed in the Netherlands. (90916 bytes)Mew Gull canus NLA 3.715.531 5CY, May 11 2016, Europoort - Dintelhaven, the Netherlands (51.57 N 4.06 E).
adult canus in May, ringed in the Netherlands. (90916 bytes)Mew Gull canus NLA 3.730.114 5CY, May 11 2016, Europoort - Dintelhaven, the Netherlands (51.57 N 4.06 E).
adult canus in May, ringed in the Netherlands. (90916 bytes)Mew Gull canus NLA, May 16 2004, Dintelhaven - Maasvlakte, the Netherlands.
adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult, June 30 2009, Solovetsky, Arkhangelrskaya Oblast, Russia. Picture: Juha Mäkeläinen.
adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult, May 28 2009, Oyatevshchina, Kareliya, Russia. Picture: Christian Senger.
adult Common Gull (43121 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult, June 02 2003, Vuurtorenvlakte - Maasvlakte, the Netherlands.
adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult, August 13 2013, St Petersburg, Russia. Picture: Marina Yolkina.
adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult, June 07 2008, Listed, Bornholm, Denmark. Picture: Steen E. Jensen.
adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult, July 13 2008, Oscarsborg Festning, Norway. Picture: Morten Winness.
adult Common Gull (69271 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult, July 14 2001, IJmuiden, the Netherlands. 
adult Common Gull canus in July. (74912 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult, July 16 2004, Tampere, Finland (61.31N, 23.43E).
adult Common Gull canus in July. (83635 bytes)Mew Gull canus adult, July 16 2004, Tampere, Finland (61.31N, 23.43E).

"heinei" Mew Gull adult May - August

Mew Gull heinei adult, May 29 2015, Karabalyk, NW Kazakhstan. Picture: Yuriy Malkov.
Mew Gull heinei adult, May 18 2013, Kyzyltan, Pavlodar oblast, E Kazakhstan. Picture: Oleg Lyakhov.
Mew Gull heinei adult, May 06 2016, Karabalyk, NW Kazakhstan. Picture: Yuriy Malkov.
adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull heinei adult, June 02 2013, Novosibirskaya Oblast, Western Siberia, Russia. Picture: Sergey Pisarevskiy.
Mew Gull heinei adult, August 27 2007, Temirtau, Karaganda oblast, central Kazakhstan. Picture: Askar Isabekov.
Mew Gull heinei adult, May 31 2010, Karamendy vill, Naurzum reg, Kostanay oblast, N Kazakhstan. Picture: Aleksey Timoshenko.

"kamtschatschensis" Mew Gull adult May - August

adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull kamtschatschensis adult, June 21 2013, Kamchatka/Chukotka Coast, Russia. Picture: Benjamin van Doren.
adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull kamtschatschensis adult, July 22 1992, Kamchatka, Russia, Steve Hampton.
adult Common Gull (63404 bytes)Mew Gull kamtschatschensis adult, July 22 1992, Kamchatka, Russia, Steve Hampton.