Monday, 12 April 2010

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), 2cy, 3.4.2010, Bunken Strand, Nordjylland

This is a putative leucistic Herring Gull (Larus argentatus), but could also be a hybrid Herring Gull x Glaucous Gull (Larus argentatus x Larus hyperboreus). Due to the photo quality a safe identification does not seem liable. Another rather similar gull from Denmark are here at netfugl.

Appears extreme long-legged in these photos as they were taken just seconds before it flew off. It was initially seen together with some normal colored same-aged Herring Gulls, and it within argentatus size variation.

The plumage looks like a pale Herring Gull, but features such as a pale frontal face extending on to the upper mandible, a small eye situated high in the head, a rather flat and long forehead and short primary projection behind tail could indicate a hybrid even though it lacks the bicolored bill as seen in many Glaucous Gull-hybrids. Thus from these photos alone an aberrant pale first winter Herring Gull is not safely ruled out.