31 December 2022

December 2022 Quiz


Illinois. November.

Age: The nondescript brown plumage gives every indication of a 1st cycle large gull. In fact, all scapulars, upperwing coverts and tertials are juvenile (1st basic).

Identification: An interesting combination of uniform brown upperparts with neat pale edging throughout can match a number of species in November. But not many combine smooth brown neck, breast and sides, with paling bill. This individual superficially recalls Lesser Black-backed Gull, but that taxon generally lacks a pale bill base at this date, seldom shows pale tips on the primaries and has paler underparts. Our November quiz bird is "just" an American Herring in crisp juvenile plumage.