Mew Gull Larus canus canus; heinei; kamtschatschensis; brachyrhynchus

(last update: March 12, 2012)

Kjeld Tommy Pedersen (Denmark)
Chris Gibbins (Scotland)
Frank Majoor (Netherlands)
Mars Muusse (Netherlands)

Mew Gull canus / heinei (?) 3CY, May 28 2006, Bergen, Norway. Picture: Frode Falkenberg.

Second winter (second basic) Common (Mew) Gull in Bergen, late May 2006. A pretty straightforward individual to age, note the black spots on the tail and greater primary coverts. Tail spots is a feature associated with Ring-billed Gulls, but also appears on a small percentage of Mew Gulls (more frequent in the eastern subspecies L. c. henei and L. c. kamtschatschensis). A Second winter Ring-billed Gull would have missed the white spot on p9 (second outermost primary), and probably shown a brighter eye and heavier black markings on the bill.

More interesting are the black spots in the 2nd generation secondary centres. Such dark centres are virtually impossible for western canus, but in fact are a strong clue for eastern taxon heinei, and maybe as well for birds from the transition zone between canus and heinei.

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