Yellow Billed Gull

To: birding aus <>
Subject: Yellow Billed Gull
From: Russell Woodford <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 19:05:36 +1000
I agree with Bill on all points, and guess this bird will turn out to be a Silver Gull. One thing jumps out at me though, and that's the wingtips, which Vin describes as wholly black.

I've never seen Red-legged Kittiwake (only their Black-legged cousins in Europe) but the following site has some photos of a 1st Winter RLK and its legs are a little closer to yellow rather than red. larus/akaasi_1w.htm

The birds in Vin's photos seem to have much brighter leg and bill colouring than the RLKs (maybe that's one of the failings of the Pentax DigiBinos?) and no nape markings. I'm not sure if the foreground birds are also Kittiwakes - there's a larger gull (Herring?) that sure isn't. Anyway, if I was able to get over there I'd go to Tooradin asap to have a look for myself.

For those who would like to know, Tooradin is on the northern shores of Westernport, SE of Melbourne, more or less between Warneet and Koo-we-rup / Lang Lang.

Love to hear more about this weird bird so I hope somebody will find it again tomorrow!

Russell Woodford

On Tuesday, July 22, 2003, at 06:28 PM, Bill Jolly wrote:

Great pictures from Vin!  


Of the species suggested as options, in very brief summary, the Common Gull is an altogether bigger, heavier bird, with a quite different beak, while Kittiwakes are smaller with different beak and jizz, and black or red legs.


The bird in the photograph clearly isn’t a ‘normal’ adult of any gull species. Given then, that it is an aberrant individual of some species, what is the most likely scenario?  I don’t think we need to look at northern hemisphere gulls.


The ‘suspect’ bird appears in the photograph to be in all respects identical to the accompanying Silver Gulls save only for the colour of its soft parts. This does happen with gulls and terns (and waders). Bear in mind, the beaks and legs of young Silver Gulls go from altogether dark through yellowish-brown, before they normally turn to crimson in the adult bird.


But for this bird it hasn’t gone according to plan, and I agree with Tom Tarrant that it is an interesting, aberrant Silver Gull.


Thanks Vin, great fun to see your photos, and I’m waiting for someone else to jump in with responses to the other interesting photos you’ve posted.


Bill Jolly



Lockyer Valley, Queensland.


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-----Original Message-----
From: [On Behalf OfK,K&E Lindsay
Sent: Tuesday, 22 July 2003 4:46 PM
To: Birding Aus
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Yellow Billed Gull


The beak and legs of this mystery gull look very much like the Common Gull of Europe but the wingtips are jet black with no whit spots which resembles Kittiwake.

Any other ideas.

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