DavidHowdon's picture

Pink-breasted Gull

Observed: 23rd March 2013 By: DavidHowdon
Amateur Entomologists' SocietyLondon Natural History SocietySelborne Society
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Adult summer 0246 Chroicocephalus ridibundus Linnaeus, 1766 (Black-headed Gull) showing pinkish colour to breast - Hayling Island, South Hampshire (VC 11), 23rd March 2013
Adult summer 0246 Chroicocephalus ridibundus Linnaeus, 1766 (Black-headed Gull) showing pinkish colour to breast - Hayling Island, South Hampshire (VC 11), 23rd March 2013
Adult summer 0246 Chroicocephalus ridibundus Linnaeus, 1766 (Black-headed Gull) showing pinkish colour to breast (colour sturation enhanced) - Hayling Island, South Hampshire (VC 11), 23rd March 2013
Adult summer 0246 Chroicocephalus ridibundus Linnaeus, 1766 (Black-headed Gull) showing pinkish colour to breast (colour saturation enhanced) - Hayling Island, South Hampshire (VC 11), 23rd March 2013
Description:

Not noticed this colouration in summer plumage birds before (which probably tells you something about my lack of observation skills since it is not a rare thing).

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Mark at Magdalen's picture

Pink gulls

I remember one at Titchwell a few years ago that was almost red. Older books suggest this colouration is due to the red preen oil containing carotenoids but I think the modern consensus is that it is diet related. Lots more information at http://www.anythinglarus.com/2012/03/pink-coloration-in-gulls.html.

DavidHowdon's picture

Thanks

Interesting link.

bobthebirder's picture

Pink gulls

It can be diet related but still originate from the preen gland of course, if that is where the pigment ends up. In the link, Amar Ayash states that it might not be from the preen gland as some gulls have a lot of pink around the head, where they cannot preen. This is not so, as the preening process involves much vigorous rubbing of the head onto the preen gland, in order to transfer oil onto the bill. This is shown well in this video of a mallard preening: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=a2s3aOWbDko

Bob Ford