Herring Gull - Zilvermeeuw (argentatus & argenteus)

(last update: 21 februari 2004)

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Herring Gull AAAA adult (argenteus), May 03 2003, Voorhaven, Zeebrugge, Belgium (51.59N 04.02E).

An individual from the Belgian colour-ring program, probably ringed as adult on the nest, the first code in the colour-ring scheme in 1999. The orbital ring is yellow-orange, as is commonly found in western argenteus.

From June (often mid-May in France, Belgium and the Netherlands) to October, a complete moult will bring birds in so-called "adult winter" plumage. A new set of primaries will grow during the summer months and by late November, the average argenteus in the Netherlands and northern France has completely moulted all primaries. At the same time, the wing-covert moult is completed by the end of the month. 
In summer, the head is still largely white, but by September, most adults develop extensive 'winter streaking', in sub-adults strongly mottled brown contrasting with the white breast as in an executioner's hood. The scapular coverts are plain grey, lacking white crescents. The tertials show obvious white tips. The iris is yellow. The bill is yellow with a red gonydeal spot confined to the lower mandible. The orbital ring is yellow-orange in most argenteus