27 January 2015

Anomolous and Aberrant Laughing Gulls

With literally over 50,000 Laughing Gulls to pick through in Brevard and Volusia Counties last week, I was able to find a couple of birds that stood out in the ranks. I give you an "anomaly" and an "aberrant".

This first bird shows aberrant bare-part coloration. This orange-red color problem has been documented in the literature and doesn't appear to be too uncommon with Laughing Gulls. For whatever reason it tends to be found more in this species than other dark-legged hooded gulls.

Adult Laughing Gull. Daytona Beach Shores, FL. 24 Jan 2015.
This next individual has molted into a complete hood in the middle of winter - a real anomaly:

Adult Laughing Gull. Daytona Beach Shores, FL. 25 Jan 2015.
I've seen Bonaparte's with full hoods in late Fall and have seen photos of Franklin's with complete alternate hoods in winter (birds that perhaps had breeding hormones triggered a bit prematurely), but this was my first LAGU with a black head in winter. Stunning to say the least!