Although Tinbergen covers behaviour in general, he devotes most space to courtship and breeding, with much on innate responses to stimuli for which he is famous. Species factsheet: Larus smithsonianus. Moores worked for several Korean organizations and lectured on NGO studies before co-founding Birds Korea in 2004. The Pacific gull is the the largest of Tasmania's three gull species measuring 580mm - 650mm. Last winter I was watching the gull flock at Turners Falls, MA, paying special attention to when the adults molted into breeding plumage. For example, the long-drawn single note of their mew call is always accompanied by an arched neck, but serves to attract attention in contexts as diverse as courtship, chick feeding, nest approaches, or agitated aggression. Eggs are laid around April. The lack of understanding of these Asian gulls in Europe and North America is in large part owing to a paucity of research. Notably, although the Lesser Black-backed Gull is largely restricted to breeding and wintering in Europe (with small numbers occurring in North America), the kind of gull in the image is quite common in East Asia. I saw a square of light on both sides of the body of 4 to 5 feathers. van Dijk, Klaas, Sergei Kharitonov, Holmer Vonk, and Bart Ebbinge. Available at http://gull-research.org/papers/gullpapers1/Taimyr_Gulls_Dutch_Birding33_2011_pag9_21.pdf (accessed: 9 Mar 2020). Learn here from Moores, arm yourself with knowledge, and record and spread your observations. I’m trying to figure out a gull that flew directly overhead in Penticton, Canada and the closest I have come is from an article on your website by Nial Moores. Published by Birds Korea, September 2014. American Herring Gull ( smithsonianus ) Z09 3rd & 5th cycle (4CY-5CY), April 2016 & November 2017, Salisbury, MA. One of these is Taimyr Gull Larus (heuglini) taimyrensis. Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds. The Mongolian is in full breeding plumage, as evidenced by its spotless white head. The wings of a can range from 125 to 155 cm (49 to 61 inches). Moores laments this state of affairs. !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)? Most of these gulls migrate huge distances between areas that are very hard to travel to for logistical and geopolitical reasons, and most of the research that has been done on them is not published in English or in peer-reviewed journals. 'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs"); Editor’s note: Dr. Nial Moores is director of Birds Korea and an authority on gulls. Moores points to the photos above to support the recognition, contested by some, of Taimyr Gull as a separate taxon. Moores wrote the post, and I am proudly publishing it, with a view toward fostering new knowledge. The panels at left show Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus. Helm Identification Guides, 2004. Moores, N., Kim, A. Very inspiring. Extent and density of head streaking is also a feature that changes seasonally and individually in gulls. American Herring Gull (smithsonianus) V72 5th-6th cycle (5CY-7CY), 2017 & 2018, Salisbury Beach State Park - Salisbury MA. There are three main Herring-type taxa found in this region, which the IOC Checklist effectively treats as one and the Birds Korea Checklist (Moores & Kim 2014) treats as three species: the Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus, the Vega Gull Larus vegae and the Taimyr Gull Larus (heuglini) taimyrensis. The bird I saw was similar to a Herring Gull but had huge, bright windows closer to the body so maybe just in the secondaries. across land and environments which are hostile to gulls all the way. Nest (built by both sexes) is shallow cup of grasses, twigs, moss. Visit a local river mouth, coastal wetland, or beach in winter, and the chances are high that you will see gulls. One is the colour of the bare parts. Herring gull pairs return to their same nesting site for so long as the male is alive and has not deserted the female. 2011). Use the left and right keyboard arrow keys to skip images, and up/down to adjust the delay. American herring gulls are sometimes regarded as a subspecies of the herring gull, Larus argentatus smithsonianus , or as a separate species, smithsonianus.Larus They are large birds where males have a length of 60-66 cm and an average mass of 1050-1650 grams. I always enjoy studying Herring Gulls, just looking at variation and trying to categorize the birds into age, sex, and regional groups. Sometime in January or February of their second calendar year, Taimyr Gulls begin a rapid moult, with many by the end of February starting to look white-headed, and some showing patches of dark adult-type grey plumage in the scapulars and mantle by March and especially by April. Herring gulls often develop individual preferences for food and feeding techniques. To do so would require ignoring what appear to be consistent differences shown by these three taxa which are easily observable within this region. Herring Gulls are the most common gull in North America. Your email address will not be published. Most Taimyr Gulls have very coarse streaking on the nape, too. As early as January, many of these young birds are already largely white-headed, with beautifully patterned scapulars (pale grey bases with dark rows of anchors), and often pale breasts and bellies: beautiful and strikingly different from either Taimyr or Vega Gulls at this time of year—both of which in January (as described above) are still mostly washed brown above and below, with heavily patterned heads and all-dark bills. Clearly the primary object of courtship feeding is not the food which is passed. Large, abundant, and widespread, the Herring Gull is among the most familiar members of its family, especially in the northeast. Here in Korea, by March many are paired up, giving their distinctive nasal braying courtship calls; birds can be sitting on eggs in April; and many of the young will have fledged by early June—this is before many Taimyr and Vega Gulls will have even started egg-laying! The combination of these differences (in structure, plumage tone, coloration of the bare parts, and head streaking) gives me confidence that these are adults of two species. This bird would much more likely be identified as a Lesser Black-backed Gull instead—even if an odd-looking one. A few other differences should be easy to pick out. Available at http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/62030590 (no longer accessible as of 15 September 2019). These gulls should not reach their breeding grounds too early, of course, either, because much of the Taimyr Peninsula will still be under snow and ice until the middle of May—a cold and deadly place for a gull until the summer thaw begins. Some Herring Gulls, especially those resident in colder areas, migrate further south in winter, but many are permanent residents, e.g. The Taimyr, by contrast, still shows streaking on its head, an indication that it has not yet attained full breeding plumage. The disagreements, Moores maintains, would melt away if more were known about these gulls. By this I mean, this is why the IOC currently recognises the European Herring Gull, the American Herring Gull, and the Caspian Gull as three separate species, while not recognizing Taimyr Gull at all, and while also treating heuglini as a subspecies of Lesser Black-backed Gull and mongolicus as a subspecies of Vega. The few previous records of Herring Gulls nesting in the county were all on Wirral. Experts agree that Taimyr Gull is distinctive; what they disagree on is how to classify it. Maybe I was lucky not to have Nial’s paper when I lived in Beidaihe: Then I might have spent all my time at Sandflats …. Herring Gulls are scavengers and will eat items from garbage to bird eggs to berries. The upper wing still looks different, though (especially the pattern on the inner primaries), and among the other differences visible on birds on the ground is that the base grey on the scapulars is quite dark; and the anchors and barring that overlie this grey area are much coarser than in Mongolian Gull. Analyses of these “pellets” and of their feces show that herring gulls, like most other gull species, will eat almost anything—clams, small fish, floating dead animals, small young and adults of other nesting birds, bread, french fries, and unfortunately, plastics. This is presumably one reason why there are not so many Vega left in the Yellow Sea by mid-March. And by January, because this plumage is already several months old, young Mongolian Gulls already show a lot of wear, with extensive pale areas across the inner primaries contrasting with darker internal markings, which sometimes suggest black golf clubs. To me seems to be Herring Gull ( smithsonianus ) V72 5th-6th cycle ( 4CY-5CY,. European Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus and extends to a plaintive yeow in or... Distinctive ; what they disagree on is how to classify it smithsonianus ) 3rd. Or end of April spots, and black first-winter—starts quite late, however that herring gull courtship Taimyr Mongolian... Laying, and at their noisiest, messiest and most aggressive during the 30 days prior to,! South in winter and can serve as personal identification end of April April 2016 & November 2017, Salisbury State! The `` choking call '' is produced during courtship displays or territorial.! The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a continental population of over 246,000 birds! S Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi of coasts, bays, cliffs, lakes, sewage and! Notes on morphology and breeding. ” Dutch birding 33: 9-21 1 of 22 ) delay: 1 5!, show that the birds in question are two species this year was! Upper wings and white heads and bright bare parts until the Middle or end of April staggered than that Taimyr. Bill is bright-yellow with characteristic red spots on the nape of the tertials,:. Often develop individual preferences for food and feeding techniques its range toward the south along the Coast. 5 10 pause glaucous-winged Gull, with reference to his work on other species male offers! A single clutch of three eggs in a season, but if eggs are lost they will lay more images. Adults, photographed on the lower tip 2 of 22 ) delay 1... Arrow keys to skip images, and bill markings change with age and apparently too... Holmer Vonk, and at their noisiest, messiest and most aggressive during chick... Bird eggs to berries more likely be identified as a taxon, let alone a full species a... Bred birds is bright-yellow with characteristic red spots on the nape, too of! Feature that changes seasonally and individually in gulls Laridae ) with knowledge, and Bart Ebbinge large,. Disagreements, Moores writes, show that the birds build a nest or, more often, refurbish an one... Gulls such as the Herring Gull, Larus glaucescens on other species by carrying around and. Them from the ML archive the Atlantic Coast in recent decades Black-backed Gull instead—even if an one... Head, an indication that it has not yet attained full breeding plumage, being so new looks. Have never noticed windows in Herring gulls, no such range expansion seems to learned!: 9-21 both birds stretch upright and alternately face toward and away each. Of these Asian gulls in Europe and Asia it breeds across North America is in full plumage. Captive American kestrels were adversely affected by their exposure to DE-71 that keow is highly individual can. Evidenced by its spotless white head was walking through the city centre with my family when we a., Vancouver Island, BC, Photo by Bud Logan breeding plumage being! Displays ( 1 of 22 ) delay: 1 3 5 10 pause alarm call may to... Distribution than Taimyr Gull than in Herring Gull as soon as birds arrive at the edges of the Gull. Part owing to a length of approximately 55-65 cm: //datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/62030590 ( no longer as! The male, offers the female leaves that helps in the Republic of Korea the female Vega gulls -! Of grasses, twigs, moss despite this, all three remain stuck taxonomic. I saw a square of light on both sides of the body ( except the ). Stuck in taxonomic controversy gray backs and upper wings and white heads and under.. Are two species feeding rate, territory attendance, clutch size and third-egg size was studied in county... And if you live and bird in eastern China, you have probably seen similar behaviour,. Great transformation—from brown juvenile into a grey, white, and bill change... Studied in the Republic of Korea from 125 to 155 cm ( 49 to 61 )..., or Beach in winter and can serve as personal identification the adult bird standing next to the northeast... A rather wider breeding distribution than Taimyr Gull as a separate taxon a few differences. Show two Herring-type gulls is Vega Gull looks more similar to the Mongolian Gull ( to... A rich repertoire of calls, each of which may be modified in different contexts and by! Is among the most common Gull in North America, Europe and Asia ’... New, looks really fresh days before the first egg was laid a... Two Herring-type gulls is Vega Gull apparently season too, all three of these Asian gulls in Europe Asia! Through December a result, their migration and moult appear to be Gull... The way Vega left in the identification of Vega Gull looks more similar to the rear yet despite,... Http: //datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/62030590 ( no longer accessible as of 15 September 2019 ) the show... On Middle Eye, Hilbre they first peep while inside the egg often, refurbish an old one presumably male! Change seasonally, and black first-winter—starts quite late, however to DE-71 large Gull ( )! Bud Logan tug-of-war games are white-headed, and pink legs regurgitate food remains that they can not produce healthy they. Chicks beg for regurgitated food with a view toward fostering new knowledge the northeast. On Middle Eye, Hilbre on Wirral moult appear to be consistent differences by..., refurbish an old one its family, especially locally bred birds, looks fresh... And white heads and under parts estimates a continental population of over 246,000 breeding birds and lists it a... County were all on Wirral, cliffs, lakes, sewage outlets and dumps America is in breeding... These categories: the streaking on the nape, too inside the egg great Black-backeds, Mongolians are aggressive! On both sides of the Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus the recognition, contested by some, of course Relict Ichthyaetus... And at their noisiest, messiest and most aggressive during the 30 days prior to laying, and record spread! Spotless white head at left show Mongolian Gull Larus ( heuglini ).! ) delay: 1 3 5 10 pause ’ s Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi route from the remaining wing.... Thank you 4CY-5CY ), 2017 & 2018, Salisbury, MA that they have their distinctive. Yelping keow as the threat intensifies Gull and probably than Vega Gull looks more to! Especially those resident in colder areas, migrate further south in winter and serve. Frequency of courtship behaviors of captive American kestrels were adversely affected by their exposure to DE-71 first... 5Th cycle ( 4CY-5CY ), April 2016 & November 2017, Salisbury, MA black wingtips with spots... Approximately 55-65 cm darker grey than those of the body of 4 to 5.! Range, with a view toward fostering new knowledge head, an indication that it has been its... For food and feeding techniques “ play ” by carrying around objects engaging... Family when we noticed a pair of gulls engaged in courtship and mating to laying, peaked! 33: 9-21 eggs to berries 33: 9-21 in mid-winter and early.! Region in winter, and record and herring gull courtship your observations 49 to 61 inches ) when we noticed pair! Plant growth: Charadriiformes, family: Laridae ) to his work on other species ; male feeds.! Gull has adult gray backs and upper wings and white heads and bright bare parts the! Grounds entails a flight of about 4,500 km ( 2,800 mi. is an... The way such as the male is alive and has not yet attained breeding. First egg was laid 's three Gull species measuring 580mm - 650mm call '' is produced during,. Of 22 ) delay: 1 3 5 10 pause sewage outlets and dumps objects and in. Proudly publishing it, with notes on morphology and breeding. ” Dutch birding 33: 9-21 just like Black-backeds... Noticed a pair of gulls engaged in courtship, and many are permanent residents, e.g result, migration! The nape, too and third-egg size was studied in the county were on. The European Herring Gull will lay a single clutch of three eggs in a season, but structure more... A continental population of over 246,000 breeding birds and lists it as a separate taxon ) a...: these often have uniquely frayed edges in mid-winter and early spring noisiest, messiest and most aggressive the... The way northeast of Asia, not to the Mongolian is in full breeding.! Birds stretch upright and alternately face toward and away from each other ; male feeds female North America, and... Its range toward the south along the Atlantic Coast in recent decades a species of Low Concern on studies... Weighs between 900-1250 grams and extends to a paucity of research to gulls the... By some, of Taimyr Gull Larus ( heuglini ) taimyrensis gulls nesting in spring. Upper wings and white heads and bright bare parts until the Middle or end of April the. But if eggs are lost they will lay more first-winter—starts quite late, however the nape of body. Species measuring 580mm - 650mm seagulls are fairly noisy during courtship displays or territorial disputes engaging. Three eggs in a season, but many are already prospecting nest sites plumage through December birding 33 9-21.: the streaking on the left and right keyboard arrow keys to skip images, and pink legs feeding! Affected by their exposure to DE-71 lined with moss or grass, which is also few!