Lesser Black-backed Gull at Broome seen yesterday

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Subject: Lesser Black-backed Gull at Broome seen yesterday
From: "Mike Carter" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2013 19:15:26 +1100
Tom Smith & George Swann saw it yesterday. 

Some folk are still confused as to the identity of this bird. Even in the 
unlikely event (based on numerous expert European opinions) that this bird is a 
'Heuglin's' Gull, then according to the latest International Ornithological 
Congress Checklist adopted by BARC it is still a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 
merely another subspecies. Their determination is based on a paper in British 
Birds 2008 by Collinson et al. which recommended lumping these taxa. It is 
treated similarly in the Howard & Moore and BirdLife International Checklists 
as indeed it is in Lynx 'Birds of the World'. I thought Clements split it but 
some say not so am unsure there. That List may have been revised today! 
Nevertheless some modern authors split it such as Olsen & Larsonn (2003) in 
their Helm Gulls book but note that that was published prior to 2008 as was the 
Howell & Dunn's America's Gull book. Nevertheless, ID to ultra-taxa level is a 
desirable aim particularly as that determines the origin of the bird.
Regarding the collection of DNA material, that will be attempted but even if 
achieved it is unlikely to achieve a resolution any time soon. A large immature 
gull present in Broome sometime prior to 2005 as I'm informed, was identified 
as a Kelp Gull. It was deliberately caught for this purpose but I'm told the 
blood is still stored in fridge of a well-known local birder! Having the 
material analysed and compared after collection is another problem!   

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

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