Sooty Gull L. hemprichii 2CY, March 04 2002, visitor's centre of Nabq National Park, SE Sinai, Egypt.
A typical first winter bird by early spring. The tail feathers are still
juvenile, bleached brown with abraded fringes. The pointed primaries are
slightly abraded at the tips in this individual.
The post-juvenile moult from juvenile plumage into first winter plumage may take
place between August and March; subsequently, feathers show various stages of
wear. Most of the wing-coverts are still juvenile, but a few coverts have been
replaced by second generation feathers recently. The post-juvenile moult may
still be in progress. First winter birds are often described in publications as
"resembling juveniles but with moulted body and head feathers, scapulars
and mantle". However, first winter birds including some wing-coverts in
this post-juvenile moult might actually be quite common.
Fresh juvenile coverts show broad pale fringes in Sooty Gull, much more obvious than
the fringes of juvenile White-eyed Gulls. However, by March these fringes are
worn away and the juvenile feathers stand out as plain pale brown very abraded
feathers. This individual included some inner greater coverts and randomly some
median coverts in the post-juvenile moult. The scapulars and mantle has been
moulted in an earlier stage and several feathers already slow slight wear in the
fringes and a brown hue.
Note the stronger, straight bill compared to White-eyed Gulls. It has a blue-grey base and a black tip. The ill-defined buffish
eye-crescent is much
less obvious than similar aged White-eyed Gulls. Note the lack of any blackish
feathers on the head and neck, which are typical for White-eyed Gull. The legs