Lesser Black-backed Gull at Broome tip

To: Tony Palliser <>, 'Mike Carter' <>, "" <>
Subject: Lesser Black-backed Gull at Broome tip
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2013 00:39:14 -0800 (PST)
Nice shots, Tony.
Could your NW Indian birds be taimyrensis? That could explain that they are 
paler than the Broome bird...


P.S. From van Dijk et al. 2011 Dutch Birding:

"The lack of long-distance ring recoveries is one of the reasons for 
uncertainties and confusion about the wintering areas of Taimyr Gulls. Grant 
(1982) states that the wintering range is not known but quotes Vaurie (1965) 
who suggested the Caspian Sea as wintering area. Cramp & Simmons (1983) 
indicate that Taimyr Gulls spend the winter along the shores of the eastern 
Mediterranean, in the Caspian Sea area, along the Arabian Sea to western India, 
and partly also along coasts in eastern Africa. Glutz von Blotzheim & Bauer 
(1982) mention that Taimyr Gulls may winter in roughly the same area but 
clearly state that firm data like recoveries are lacking. Both sources assume 
that Taimyr Gulls migrate in a south-westerly direction towards the Indian 
Ocean. Possible confusion in these regions with, eg, Heuglin’s Gull L heuglini 
and Caspian Gull L cachinnans is one of the reasons for an unclear picture. 
In contrast, several more recent sources state that Taimyr Gulls migrate in a 
south-easterly direction towards the Pacific Ocean and that they spend the 
winter in coastal areas between Kamchatka, Russia, and Hainan, China. Il’icev & 
Zubakin (1990) mention that Taimyr Gulls breeding east of western Taimyr 
migrate in a south-easterly direction towards the Pacific. Kennerley et al 
(1995) indicate that almost all large white-headed gulls wintering in Hong 
Kong, China, are Taimyr Gulls and they mention two long-distance ring 
recoveries, both of birds which had migrated in a south-easterly direction 
towards the Pacific. Del Hoyo et al (1996) indicate that Taimyr Gulls spend the 
winter in the same area as shown by Cramp & Simmons (1983) but they state that 
birds breeding on eastern Taimyr winter along the north-western Pacific as well.
In conclusion, not much is known about the precise wintering areas. We obtained 
new long-distance ring recoveries and the results are presented in this paper. 
We also present data on distribution and breeding biology and we give a 
description of the general appearance of adults, illustrated with photographs 
taken on Taimyr. It should be noted that Olsen & Larsson (2004) do not provide 
photographs of Taimyr Gull."

Although van Dijk et al. present ring recoveries (n=6) only from the 
south-easterly route to the Pacific coast, they state the following in the 
discussion: "Recent sources indicate that gulls resembling Taimyr Gulls spend 
the winter in low numbers in southern Iran (Scott 2007) and Bahrain (Yésou & 
Hirschfeld 1997). The same may be true for the small number of unidentified 
large white-headed gulls seen at Okha, western India, described and depicted in 
Buchheim (2006)."
Nikolas Haass

Sydney, NSW

 From: Tony Palliser <>
To: 'Mike Carter' <>;  
Cc: 'George Swann of Kimberley Birdwatching' 
<>; 'Rohan Clarke' 
<>; 'Danny Rogers' <>; 'Tony 
Palliser' <>; 'Jim Allen' <> 
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 7:16 PM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Lesser Black-backed Gull at Broome tip
Hi everyone,
Have just started to go through the images taken a few days ago in NW India
and have begun uploaded them here

(select view at original size to see a larger file)

Interestingly, these birds appear a little paler above than the images I saw
taken by Rohan earlier.    For the record I have attempted to take great
care with colour contrast - given the importance of this when identifying
gulls.   That said I am not entirely sure that these birds are Heuglins'
Gull but this is what the books and various trips reports are saying they
should be at this locality - namely Modhva Beach, Near Mandvi, Gujurat,


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Mike Carter
Sent: Tuesday, 22 January 2013 3:59 PM
Cc: Jim Allen; Danny Rogers; George Swann of Kimberley Birdwatching; Tony
Palliser; Rohan Clarke
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Lesser Black-backed Gull at Broome tip

The Gull was still there this morning bathing in a puddle near the gate. The
Semi-palmated Plover was seen yesterday on the beach near the Port. 
Tony Palliser arrived back from NW India this morning with numerous photos
of heuglini Lesser Black-backed Gulls so we will be able to compare our bird
with those taken same day! 
In the meantime here are some opinions from the UK.

Mike Carter
30 Canadian Bay Road
Mount Eliza  VIC 3930
Tel  (03) 9787 7136


From: Alan Dean  
Sent: Tuesday, 22 January 2013 3:24 AM
To: 'Kimberley Bird Watching'
Cc: Dick Newell
Subject: RE: FW: Gull ID Broome tip

Hello George,

It can be difficult to assess shade of grey accurately from photos but given
it is as dark as Kelp ( and even fuscus entered the discussion) that is much
darker than even western heuglini, which is the darkest end of the cline.
Birds at western end of the range of heuglini (the ones I've seen) are much
the same shade of grey as a graellsii Lesser Black-back. In flight there is
quite an obvious contrast between the grey of the coverts /base of remiges
and the black on the primaries. I wonder whether your bird is too dark?

                        Regards,  Alan

From: Alan Dean  
Sent: Friday, 18 January 2013 6:26 PM
To: 'Dick Newell'; 'Kimberley Bird Watching'
Subject: RE: FW: Gull ID Broome tip

Hello Dick & George,

My experience of Kelp (and Cape) Gulls is too limited for me to pass any
firm opinion. To my eye the photos convey rather differing impressions of
the overall bulk and  bill structure in particular but overall I find that
the bill appears rather weaker and more slender than I would expect in Kelp,
though as Dick notes it may be within the compass a small female Kelp. The
legs also look rather more deeply yellow (less olive or grey tinted) than
the Kelps I've seen but photos suggest this hue does occur. I agree with
Dick about the moult strategy. Also, despite the moult and wear, it looks to
me that the width of the white trailing edge to the inner primaries is much
narrower than is typical of Kelp. See for example the flight shots here: In Jim Allen's flight shot I
could well imagine it was fuscus but taking all the photos into account it
lacks that delicate 'genteel' demeanour of fuscus.

                Regards,  Alan

From: Dick Newell  
Sent: 17 January 2013 09:40
To: Kimberley Bird Watching
Cc: Alan Dean
Subject: Re: FW: Gull ID Broome tip

Hi George,

Happy New Year to you!

I am not sure what this is, my first reaction was Kelp Gull, because it
looks quite dark, even black in the first shot, the legs look grey/greenish
(though the feet are yellow), it looks a bit heavy about the head and bill,
and the white tips to the secondaries look rather broad.

But, it has arrested its primary moult at P6, which is the sort of thing
that both fuscus and heuglini do, and not what Kelp Gull does as far as I
know. As it is so dark, I suppose the choice is between fuscus and

The iris looks a little dark which I guess is more kelp. The mirrors on P10
and P9 don't help - could be either.

The structure of the bird is intermediate, it could be a female Kelp or a
big male fuscus, though the flight shots look really heavy for fuscus.

So, I would say Kelp, but I cannot explain the arrested moult, so what i am
really saying is, I am not sure.

I'll copy this to a friend, Alan Dean - we share thoughts on gulls


On 17 January 2013 08:41, Kimberley Bird Watching
<> wrote:

Hi Dick, Happy New Year, We have an odd gull in Broome at the moment and
would love your opinion if you have time, obviously Kelp Gull is a contender
being Australia but could it be Lesser Black-backed or even Heuglin's Gull ?

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