Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ring-billed Gull

I'm going to take a bit of a chance. I find Gulls to be confusing. Not only are there many that appear very similar, they also go through various darker plumage stages as they grow through their first couple of years.
I believe the bird in the image above is a Ring-billed Gull. The bill is a match as is the pale gray back and wings. The light peppering on the head and neck is also consistent with a non-breeding adult. The only concern I have is the medium colored eye and the lack of white spots on its wing tips. Typically the eye is paler yellow. This could be just a variation or it could be that the bird has not reached full maturity.

1 comment:

  1. This is tough. The "ringed" bill is shown by _all_ gulls the year before adult plumage is reached. That age is confirmed by the lack of white mirrors in the wingtips. Such birds also usually show some black-tipped tail feathers (that I don't see on this bird). Ring-billed Gulls take 3 years to become an adult; California Gulls take 4 years. A year before becoming adult the eye should be the adult color and the mantle should be the adult color. Since the eye is dark, and the mantle is not silvery, but darker, this seems to be a 3rd year California Gull.