01 November 2022

October 2022 Quiz


January. Florida.

Age: The mottled brown upperparts, all-black bill, and apparent pointed primary tips all suggest a 1st cycle belonging to a four-year species. 

Identification: Note first the underparts have an obvious pale base color. This combined with the creamy head, long, straight black bill, and long-winged appearance, make for a different look than the expected Herring Gull. American Herring typically has warmer brown underparts, more head streaking and doesn't appear as svelte in the rear. Great Black-backed has a bulkier body, thicker bill, more checkered wing coverts with a peppered black-and-white plumage aspect. Consider the dark bases to the outer greater coverts, complemented by adjacent long plain edges. These plain feathers are characteristic of Lesser Black-backed Gull. The darker post-juvenile scapulars (1st alternate) with grayish anchors also support Lesser black-backed Gull, which is what our October Quiz bird is.