Featherless biped's picture

Melanistic Herring Gull?

Observed: 18th August 2013 By: Featherless bipedFeatherless biped’s reputation in BirdsFeatherless biped’s reputation in BirdsFeatherless biped’s reputation in Birds
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Description:

Its right profile appears black (see 3rd pic), its left much greyer. Pink legs. Looked the size of a herring gull, or perhaps a little larger. Red spot visible on lower mandible. Can't decide between either Herring, LBB or GBB, and presumably a juvenile. I'll plump for one but with little confidence of being right!*
*new id added

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) interacts

Comments

ophrys's picture

Oiled?

It's a fully grown gull, probably a Herring Gull, with the red spot on the bill. However, it is clearly stained with something, possibly oil, making it hard to tell exactly what the plumage really is (it looks too pale on the wings for Lesser Black Back). An unusual one...hopefully there is no oil spill in the area?

Ian
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ophrys's picture

Oiled?

Repeat posting...deleted.

Ian
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Featherless biped's picture

Thanks ophrys

Ophrys, I'll add a new i.d. If its not a juvenile I guess it must be partially melanistic. Don't think it's oil. I'll also amend title.

ahb's picture

Melanistic/ oiled gull

The state of its feathers makes me think, like Ian (Ophrys) that sadly this is a case of oiling not melanism. Do melanistic gulls actually occur? I'm not sure I have ever heard of one?

Alan Brampton (Benson)

Featherless biped's picture

Oiled

After some thought, I fear that ophrys and ahb are right. The tail feathers don't look in good condition and the beak looks like you would expect if it had been oiled. I remember it spent quite a lot of time preening its blackened side. I cannot find any report of any oil spills, although minor accidental and deliberate discharges do happen of course.