01 March 2022

February 2022 Quiz


London. December.

Age: Identification and aging, once again, go hand-in-hand. This white-headed gull is either a 2nd cycle type (if a three-year gull), or a 3rd cycle type (if a four-year gull).

Identification: The time of year and location set the stage. Immediately we note the small head, thin bill with tapered tip and long narrow wings. The upperparts are not a pale silver-gray, but more of a flat gray (in part due to age and lighting). The lower neck has distinct spotting, and the eye appears disproportionally large. These features all point to the expected Common Gull. The broad white trailing edge to the secondaries abruptly becomes thin at the inner primaries. The two large mirrors on p9-p10 are helpful, and also, the all-white tail and white secondaries tips are expected in 2nd cycle type canus