American Herring Gull (smithsonianus)

(last update: October 30, 2015)

Coordinators:
Amar Ayyash (US)
Bruce Mactavish (Canada)
Dave Brown (Canada)
Mars Muusse (Netherlands)

American Herring Gull adult October

Herring Gulls from Iceland.

The issue of Dutch Birding 26: 151-179, 2004 contained a very comprehensive paper on the identification of adult smithsonianus in a European context, titled: Identification of adult American Herring Gull. It was written by Peter Adriaens & Bruce Mactavish. The text is copied on this website, with extra links and pictures of various Canadian and European birds.
The identification of American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus in a European context has been discussed in several papers, most thoroughly by Lonergan & Mullarney (2004). However, not many birds from Iceland were included.

Herring Gull (argenteus) adult, March 01 2010, SW Iceland. Picture: Hans Larsson. Typical argenteus, wingtip pattern wrong for smithsonianus. No band on P5, no W-shaped band on P6, no bayonet on P7-P8, black on P9 runs to coverts. Herring Gull (argenteus) adult, March 01 2010, SW Iceland. Picture: Hans Larsson. Argenteus, but wingtip pattern on some points close to smithsonianus: W-shaped band on P5, broad band on P10. But, no W-shaped band on P6, no bayonet on P7-P8, black on P9 runs to coverts.
Herring Gull (argenteus) adult, March 01 2010, SW Iceland. Picture: Hans Larsson. Typical argenteus, wingtip pattern wrong for smithsonianus. No band on P5, only hint of W-shaped band on P6, no bayonet on P7-P8, much black on underside of P10 (short tongue). Herring Gull (argenteus) adult, March 01 2010, SW Iceland. Picture: Hans Larsson. Argenteus, but wingtip pattern on some points close to smithsonianus: broad band on P10 and hint of bayonet on P7. But no real W-shaped band on P5, no W-shaped band on P6, no deep pale tongue on P8, black on P9 runs to coverts and no deep tongue on P10. Note dark on greater primary coverts, indication for young adult.

 

Banded birds

American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult C71 2009 & 2011, Salisbury State Reservation, Massachusetts. Picture: Suzanne Sullivan & Jonathan Mays.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) R71 5th cycle (5CY), October 29 2016, Queens NYC, USA. Picture: Andrew Baksh.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) 4CY-5CY T76September 2013 & October 2014, Cape May, NJ. Picture: Kurt Schwarz & Julie Brown.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult AAF June & October 2011 & January 2012. Picture: Ingrid Pollet.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) 1106-13208 7th cycle (7CY), October 17 2015, New Buffalo, Berrien County, Michigan. Picture: Amar Ayyash.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) 1106-15613 5th cycle (5CY), October 25 2014, New Buffalo, Berrien County, Michigan. Picture: Amar Ayyash.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) 1106-19489 6th cycle (6CY), October 07 2016, New Buffalo, MI. Picture: Amar Ayyash.

Adults in October

American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 05 2012, Acadia National Park Maine, USA. Picture: D Samsky.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 11 2011, Caribou Harbor, Nova Scotia, CA. Picture: Lou Feltz.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 17 2004, Newburyport, MA. Picture: Brad Carlson.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 03 2011, Cheticamp, Nova Scotia, CA. Picture: Lou Feltz.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 01 2011, Head Harbor Passage, New Brunswick, Canada. Picture: Jonathan Mays.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 18 2010, Chester Basin, Nova Scotia, Canada. Picture: Maxine Quinton.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 21 2007, Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia, Canada. Picture: P.J. Gergely.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult?, October 17 2012, Pine Point, Scarborough, Maine. Picture: Bill Bunn.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 12 2015, Lake County, Illinois. Picture: Amar Ayyash.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 07 2016, Michigan City, IN. Picture: Amar Ayyash.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 07 2016, Michigan City, IN. Picture: Amar Ayyash.

West coast birds

American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 28 2007, Monterey Bay, California, USA. Picture: Jeff Poklen.
American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) adult, October 28 2007, Monterey Bay, California, USA. Picture: Jeff Poklen.