david brown's picture

Herring gulls diving

Observed: 26th April 2010 By: david browndavid brown’s reputation in Birds
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Herring gulls doing very shallow dives birds diving possibly in second winter plumage

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) interacts


RoyW's picture

Mainly 1st winter plumage

These are Herring Gulls but most of those shown are in 1st winter plumage.

The amount of grey on the back and wings gradually increases (with a correponding decrease in brown) as they age. In the right hand photo the swimming birds in the foreground look like they are a 2nd winter (left) and a 3rd winter (right).

RoyW's picture


The very white head on the bird I previously suggested was a 3rd winter, suggests that it is actually now in 3rd summer plumage (the head is streaked in winter plumage).
There is no fixed time, or point during the moult when a bird attains each subsequent plumage though so it's sometimes better to refer to the age by 'calendar years'.

The first calendar year is the year that the bird is hatched so...
1st calendar year = Juvenile > 1st winter
2nd calendar year = 1st winter > 1st summer > 2nd winter.
3rd calendar year = 2nd winter > 2nd summer > 3rd winter
4th calendar year = 3rd winter > 3rd summer > 4th winter
5th calendar year = 4th winter > adult
Once a bird is in adult plumage it is impossible to determine the age without information from ringing or other marking (and most other birds attain adult plumage long before their 5th calendar year).
The time of transition between one calendar year and another is easy - it happens at the precise time we celebrate each new year!

david brown's picture

agreement on first winter plumage

meny thanks for your comments duly noted and taken in