Seanetters not baffled by juvenile gulls!

16 01 2009

Well, Jenette Kerr comes through again–she is correct with her i.d. Bird 1 is an immature Great Black-Backed Gull while Bird 2 is an immature herring gull. There are a couple of characteristics to note when comparing these two common gull species. The Great Black-Backed Gull has a very striking, almost checkerboard-like black and white pattern over its back and wings. Additionally, the juvenile Great Black-Backed Gull has a great deal of white over the rump (the lower back where the tail meets the body).

Juvenile Great Black-Backed Gull (photo by BL Sullivan)

Juvenile Great Black-Backed Gull (photo by BL Sullivan)

Compare that to the relatively uniform gray brown of the Herring Gull. Rather than a strong black and white, the Herring Gull juvenile’s plumage is more muted in shades of gray. There is also much less white over the rump in this species, though this difference is not particularly obvious in these particular photos.

Juvenile Herring Gull (photo by BL Sullivan)

Juvenile Herring Gull (photo by BL Sullivan)

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