Hong Kong birds

To: "Mark Clayton" <>, "'Canberrabirds List'" <>
Subject: Hong Kong birds
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 21:05:55 +1100
Mark, I have Viney, Phillipps & Lam's Birds of Hong Kong and South China (6th 
edition, completely revised, 1994).  It shows both Vega Gull Larus vegae and 
Yellow-legged Gull L. cachinnans.  It also states the taxonomy of the 
Herring/Lesser Black-backed group of gulls is complex, especially when 
relatedto the little known Asian races. Chalmers (1986) lumped local birds into 
one species Herring Gull L. argentatus but many authorities now consider 
Yellow-legged Gull L. cachinnans a distinctive species.  Following Devillers 
(summarised in BWP III), our pink-legged, paler backed adult gulls are regarded 
as a full species Vega Gull L. vegae, but care should be exercised as most 
sub-adult gulls have pink or pinkish legs.  Three plumage types of 
Yellow-legged Gull have been identified in Hong Kong and each may relate to a 
separate race, one of which taimyrensis (a paler form) is sometimes confusingly 
regarded as a race of Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus.

Hope that helps.

Frank Antram

-----Original message-----
From: "Mark Clayton" 
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 19:32:33 +1100
To: "'Canberrabirds List'" 
Subject: Hong Kong birds

> Good evening all,
> Does anyone have the up to date field guide on the birds of China etc that
> also covers Hong Kong, or a copy of The Handbook of Birds of the World (I
> think that is the title)? I am trying to sort out my old records of the
> former "Herring Gull" that occurs in the waters surrounding Hong Kong. Going
> by a very old copy of A Colour Guide to Hong Kong Birds 2nd Edition (1979),
> by Clive Viney and Karen Phillipps that I bought when I was there in 1981,
> it lists two (then) subspecies, Larus argentatus mongolus and L. a. vegae.
> The species is now no longer the Herring Gull in that part of the world but
> has been split into two species - Vega Gull, L. vegae, with pink legs, and
> from what I can work out, the Yellow-legged Gull, Larus cachinnans subsp.
> mongolicus, obviously with yellow legs. Viney and Phillipps illustrate the
> pink legged race in their book which I assume is the commoner of the two
> former subspecies.
> For the benefit of all the other mad twitchers out there, I use the IOC's
> Recommended List of English Names [whatever the latest version is] as my
> standard reference for ALL my lists. I don't use Clements as some of his
> taxonomy, to my less than brilliant brain, is totally off the planet!
> Any help gratefully appreciated
> Thanks,
> Mark

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