nightfly's picture

Retitled- Diver sp. plumage.

Observed: 11th December 2012 By: nightflynightfly’s reputation in Birdsnightfly’s reputation in Birdsnightfly’s reputation in Birds
11 Dec 12 (102)
11 Dec 12 (103)
11 Dec 12 (104)
Species interactions

No interactions present.


nightfly's picture

Having just viewed some

Having just viewed some images of juvenile gannets, I think these are the feather from the wing coverts, right on the limb itself. Not all over the birds body as I stated above. It was several years back when I found the dead one, maybe more than I realise.


David Jardine's picture

White on Black seabird feathers

Hi Cathal,

I'm not sure I agree with you. There are a couple of things about the feathers in this post which I think exclude juvenile Gannet

1 - the colour of white in these feather is a pure almost flourescent white, while the white on juvenile gannet appears creamier white to me (rather than snowcem white!). I think this feather is a summer plumage mantle / back feather which has been shed when the diver has moulted into its winter (non-breeding garb)

2 - the shape on these feathers is two distinct square patches separated from the rib of the feather and also set back from the feather tip which is black. Gannet feathers have a pale tip - right at the very end of the feather. This is common in juvenile birds.

If you blow up the feathers in the post below you can see the gannet has the pale right at the feather tip and is also a creamy white rather than the flourescent white of your feathers:

If you look at some of the other juvenile gannet posts you can also just make out the distribution of the pale cream feather tips which does not fit your feathers.

I hope this helps, all the best

nightfly's picture

Hi David,I take your point

Hi David,

I take your point completely now re the 2 spots within the feather versus the pale dash at the tip. The juvenile gannet afloat in the carousel seemed to be the best image to look at to see the design of the feathers on the wing coverts. I do recall taking some of those feathers thinking I might use them in fishing lures.

As you say my feather doesnt seem right. Slightly perplexed because I am sure I am familiar with the feather with the 2 white spots within the tip- it isnt new to me. I think I might be hybridising memories. I certainly did find an intact juvenile gannet on one occasion but I am starting to wonder if I possibly found headless remains of a diver and thought it was just another gannet.

Whatever the case, it seems my ID above is in great doubt now. I think I have handled diver remains and not known it because I know this feather, I just thought it was something other than what it actually is.

Cheers David,


David Jardine's picture

Post a new ID

Understood Cathal

I can see how it might happen, their feet are of a similar size and they also have short legs. They are pretty closely related and if they are in winter plumage (and covered in sand!) then it is understandable - do you wish to post a further identification and I'll confirm.

All the best


nightfly's picture

Should I just go with Gavia

Should I just go with Gavia as Ophrys did in the other one?

Sorry to ask again but youre certain there arent double spotted feathers such as above on a gannet? If so I must have handled a diver and thought it was another gannet, it must have had no head because I wouldnt mistake a gannets head.

First gannet skull I found blew me away. I was very young and I thought it was an albatross! The sheer size of it.


David Jardine's picture


Sorry for the delay - busy day at work.....
Gavia spp covers all possibilities

all the best