Herring Gull- Zilvermeeuw (argentatus & argenteus)

(last update: December 15, 2011 )

Herring Gull - 2cy February

Introduction

This website deals with the Herring Gulls of the taxa argentatus and argenteus. Argenteus is an abundant breeding species on Iceland, Britain, NW France, Belgium, the Netherlands and N Germany. The taxon argentatus breeds in NE Europe, from Denmark, the coast of the Baltic Sea, Scandinavia and coast of the White Sea. In the centre of the breeding range (Denmark and the NW German coast), birds show intermediate characteristics, indicating there is a cline in argenteus-argentatus. Argenteus in Western Europe is pale-backed, slightly smaller and with relatively much black in the wing-tip; argentatus in the NE Europe is larger, slightly darker on upper-parts and show less black in the wing-tip.
Due to the large breeding range, there is much intra-specific variation in argentatus, with most large, powerful birds in the northern populations, showing the most darkest upper-parts, longest wing and most white in the outer-wing. In this region, some populations may hold substantial number of yellow-legged argentatus. (referred to as "Finnmark yellow-legged argentatus"). In adult plumage, the black sub-terminal spot on P5 is often lacking or strongly reduced to a diffuse streak, broken at the centre. Sometimes P6 lacks black as well. 
In the Baltic region, other yellow-legged argentatus populations occur ("Baltic yellow-legged argentatus"), with adults showing even brighter yellow legs in summer and the upper-parts only slightly darker than West European argenteus, still much paler than Yellow-legged Gull (michahellis). Those Baltic argentatus often show a black sub-terminal spot on P5 in adult plumage.
On these web-pages, we largely follow P.J. Grant: "Gulls, a guide to identification" and E.K Barth's publication as Contribution No. 86, Zoological Museum, University of Oslo: "The circumpolar systematics of Larus argentatus and Larus fuscus with special reference to the Norwegian populations".

2cy Herring Gull: post-juvenile moult

The extent of the partial autumn moult is latitude dependent. This moult may start by early August in argenteus that fledge by late-June (e.g. in the Netherlands). Argentatus may only fledge as late as by mid-July in northern USSR. 
As a rule, the post-juvenile moult is most extensive in southern Herring Gull populations and by late winter (January - March) most individuals have all or nearly all scapulars replaced for second generation feathers. 
Northern juvenile argentatus may postponed the post-juvenile moult until February, hence retain a complete juvenile plumage (e.g. this Russian 2cy argentatus in February).
In the post-juvenile moult, the head turns paler on throat and forehead. The breast turns paler as well, but most is an effect of bleaching and wear.
1cy January birds in NW Europe have the mantle and scapulars moulted to second generation feathers, showing an anchor pattern and a dark base. This moult normally starts in the rear upper scapular region high on the back, and progresses downwards to the lower scapulars. The rear lower scapulars, which are the longest scapulars, lying on the scapular coverts, are normally still juvenile by February (see charts below for argentatus in Poland). 
By January, about half of the argentatus in Poland have all upper scapulars replaced and almost 90% have >75% second generation upper scapular (i.e. category A-B in our research). When the feathers are fresh, they may show warm ginger tones, but after a few weeks these warm tones bleach paler, to white later in the season. 
In 2cy argenteus in NW France (from Belgian, Dutch and British populations), the lowest row of scapulars are still juvenile by 2cy March in the vast majority of birds (contra e.g. the southern taxon michahellis). 

Both argenteus and argentatus normally exclude all tertials and wing-coverts from the post-juvenile moult. However, we estimate 2-4% of argenteus to include one or a few wing-coverts or a single tertial in the post-juvenile moult (often in a later stage of this moult, when scapular moult is well underway). We don't have sufficient data to estimate for argentatus, but several pictures show this phenomenon in argentatus as well. The juvenile wing-coverts, rectrices and remiges start to bleach and show wear in the fringes from 1cy September onwards.

2cy Herring Gull February: tables and charts

Febr-Chart 1 (below): 2cy HG coverts & scapulars scores 08-02-2003, at Boulogne/Mer (roof resting flock at high tide), NW France (n = 20). Mixed group of argenteus and argentatus, in a group of 350 birds; over 50% of the adults origin from Scandinavian argentatus. No wing-covert moult in these 20 2cy birds.
TT & COVS: moult score in tertials and wing-coverts.
2g US: second generation upper scapulars; LS: lower scapulars.
TOTAL SCAPS: % of second generation scapulars.
Classification: A: 100% 2g; B: 75-99% 2g; C: 50-74% 2g; D: 25-49% 2g; E: 1-24% 2g; F: 0% 2g.
Note a: two birds with Total Scaps = C. Both are argentatus on jizz: powerful, dark brown birds.

Febr-Chart 2 (below): 2cy HG coverts & scapulars scores 08-02-2003, at Boulogne/Mer (roof resting flock at high tide), NW France (n = 66). Mixed group of argenteus and argentatus, in a group of 600 birds; over 80% are 2cy-3cy. For classification and codes, see table above.
Note x: One bird with Total Scaps = F. Argentatus on jizz: powerful, dark brown bird.
Note y: Incl BLB H-124213 (Belgium Bruxelles).

Table 1: 2cy ringed Herring Gull coverts & scapulars scores January - March (n = 33). 
US: upper scapulars; LS: lower scapulars. Total Scap: % of second generation scapulars.
Classification: A: 100% 2g; B: 75-99% 2g; C: 50-74% 2g; D: 25-49% 2g; E: 1-24% 2g; F: 0% 2g.
Ring No Origin Ring Data Upper Scap Lower Scap Total Scap Date
argenteus
H-124725 BLB pullus 17.07.2002 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) A A A 2-7
H-124965 BLB pullus 06.07.2002 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) A A A 2-8
5.366.999 NLA 1cy 07.10.2002 IJmuiden Netherlands (52.28N 04.35E) A A A 2-21
H-124452 BLB pullus 06.07.2002 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) A A A 3-15
H-124142 BLB pullus 06.07.2002 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) A A A 3-16
DA228133 FRP nn A A A 3-16
H-124858 BLB pullus 17.07.2002 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) A A A 3-17
ATAA BLB pullus 27.07.1999 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.21N 03.11E) A B B 2-18
BPAT BLB pullus 12.07.1999 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.21N 03.11E) A B B 2-18
BZAM BLB nn A B B 2-15
H-117045 BLB pullus 04.07.2001 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) A C B 1-4
H-117748 BLB pullus 14.07.2001 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) A B B 1-4
5.352.764 NLA pullus 31.05.2002 IJmuiden Netherlands (52.28N 04.35E) A B B 1-19
5.352.764 NLA pullus 31.05.2002 IJmuiden Netherlands (52.28N 04.35E) A B B 2-4
H-124956 BLB pullus 06.07.2002 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) A B B 2-8
H-124326 BLB pullus 06.07.2002 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) A B B 3-16
ZFJ BTO pullus 10.07.2002 Felixstowe UK (51.57N 01.19E) A B B 3-18
E032 NLA pullus 17.07.1999 Maasvlakte Netherlands (51.59N 04.02E) B D C 2-17
H-124213 BLB pullus 06.07.2002 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) A D C 2-9
BGAD BLB pullus 09.07.1999 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.21N 03.11E) A D D 2-6
H-117774 BLB pullus 16.07.2001 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) C F D 1-4
H-124181 BLB pullus 03.07.2002 Zeebrugge Belgium (51.20N 03.11E) C E D 3-15
argentatus
T-93.788 ETM pullus 24.06.2003 Ouhtu Kivilaid Estonia (58.32N 23.35E) A A A 1-14
T-93.788 ETM pullus 24.06.2003 Ouhtu Kivilaid Estonia (58.32N 23.35E) A A A 1-15
3076442 DKC 1cy 08.11.2002 Vresen Denmark (55.13N 10.53E) B D C 1-24
VA33 DKC 1cy, autumn 2001 Denmark B D C 3-15
T-95.398 ETM pullus 27.06.2003 Kobajad Estonia (58.36N 23.30E) B E C 1-13
KP14 RUM pullus 05.07.2001 Lunnaya Island Russia (67.05N 32.29E) F F F 2-4
unknown
XX 10632 BTO nn A A A 3-15
5.363.361 NLA 1cy 06.09.2001 IJmuiden Netherlands (52.28N 04.35E) A C B 2-4
H-125405 BLB 1cy 16.10.2002 Middelkerke Belgium (51.11N 02.50E) A D C 2-8
H-128060 BLB 2cy 15.01.2003 Oostende Belgium (51.14N 02.53E) E F E 2-9

rings argenteus: U.K.


1cy argenteus in November, ringed in the UK.Herring Gull A3MM 2cy (argenteus), February 24 2007, Oostende, Belgium.
2cy argenteus in March, ringed in France. (57822 bytes)Herring Gull WH5T., 2cy (argenteus), February 20 2010, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.42N,1.34E). Picture: J-M Sauvage.
rings argenteus: France
------
rings argenteus: Belgium
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in Belgium. (18629 bytes)Herring Gull ATAA 2cy (argenteus), February 18 2000, Westkapelle, the Netherlands (51.33N-03.25E). Photo by Pim Wolf.
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in Belgium. (25637 bytes)Herring Gull BGAD 2cy (argenteus), February 06 2000, Westkapelle, the Netherlands (51.33N-03.25E). Photo by Pim Wolf.
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in Belgium.(77043 bytes)Herring Gull BPAT 2cy (argenteus), February 18 2000, Westkapelle, the Netherlands (51.33N-03.25E). Photo by Pim Wolf.
1cy argenteus in November, ringed in Belgium. (25637 bytes)Herring Gull FAAT 2cy (argenteus), February 24 2007, Nieuwpoort, Belgium.
1cy argenteus in November, ringed in Belgium. (25637 bytes)Herring Gull FBAD 2cy (argenteus), February 24 2007, Oostende, Belgium.
1cy argenteus in November, ringed in Belgium. (25637 bytes)Herring Gull FFAP 2cy (argenteus), February 24 2007, Nieuwpoort, Belgium.
1cy argenteus in November, ringed in Belgium. (25637 bytes)Herring Gull FRAW 2cy (argenteus), February 24 2007, Nieuwpoort, Belgium.
1cy argenteus in November, ringed in Belgium. (25637 bytes)Herring Gull FUAL 2cy (argenteus), February 24 2007, Nieuwpoort, Belgium.
2cy argenteus in March, ringed in France. (57822 bytes)Herring Gull (argenteus) 2CY YUAC January - February 2013, Calais, NW France. Picture: Jean-Michel Sauvage.
1cy argenteus in November, ringed in Belgium. (25637 bytes)Herring Gull H-145537 2cy (argenteus), February 23 2007, Oostende, Belgium. Picture Ies Meulmeester.
1cy argenteus in November, ringed in Belgium. (25637 bytes)Herring Gull H-152161 2cy (argenteus), February 23 2007, Nieuwpoort, Belgium. Picture Ies Meulmeester.
1cy argenteus in November, ringed in Belgium. (25637 bytes)Herring Gull L-906046 2cy (argenteus), February 23 2007, Nieuwpoort, Belgium. Picture Ies Meulmeester.
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in Belgium. (75817 bytes)Herring Gull H-124213 2cy (argenteus), February 08 2003, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.43N-01.37E).
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in Belgium. (68998 bytes)Herring Gull H-124725 2cy (argenteus), February 07 2003, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.43N-01.37E).
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in Belgium. (41572 bytes)Herring Gull H-124965 2cy (argenteus), February 08 2003, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.43N-01.37E).
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in Belgium. (51650 bytes)Herring Gull H-125405 2cy (argenteus), February 08 2003, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.43N-01.37E).
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in Belgium. (63916 bytes)Herring Gull H-128060 2cy (argentatus), February 09 2003, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.43N-01.37E).
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in Belgium. (102886 bytes)Herring Gull H-133730 2cy (argenteus), February 26 2004, Borselle, the Netherlands. Photo by Pim Wolf.
rings argenteus: the Netherlands
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in the Netherlands. (27385 bytes)Herring Gull (argenteus) LN 2CY, February 03 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
2cy argenteus in March, ringed in France. (57822 bytes)Herring Gull (argenteus) P.G 1CY-2CY, October 2012 - February 2013, Hoek van Holland, the Netherlands. Picture: Wim van Yperen.
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in the Netherlands. (27385 bytes)Herring Gull 5W 2cy (argenteus), February 28 2008, Boulogne/Mer, France. Photo: J-M Sauvage.
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in the Netherlands. (27385 bytes)Herring Gull VS 2cy (argenteus), February 19 2007, Katwijk, the Netherlands. Photo by Luuk Punt.
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in the Netherlands. (27385 bytes)Herring Gull E032 2cy (argenteus), February 17 2000, Westkapelle, the Netherlands (51.33N-03.25E). Photo by Pim Wolf.
2cy argentatus in February, ringed in Russia. (84802 bytes)Herring Gull E433 2cy (argenteus), February 11 2006, Oostende, Belgium. Picture W. Leers.
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in the Netherlands. (55206 bytes)Herring Gull 5.352.7642cy (argenteus), February 04 2003, IJmuiden, the Netherlands (52.27N 04.33E).
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in the Netherlands. (81616 bytes)Herring Gull 5.363.361 2cy (argenteus), February 04 2002, IJmuiden, the Netherlands (52.27N 04.33E).
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in the Netherlands. (51370 bytes)Herring Gull 5.366.999 2cy (argenteus), February 21 2003, Scheveningen, the Netherlands.
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in the Netherlands. (78298 bytes)Herring Gull 5.412.502 2cy (argenteus), February 12 2004, IJmuiden, the Netherlands (52.27N-04.33E).
2cy argenteus in February, ringed in the Netherlands. (71657 bytes)Herring Gull 5.412.5172cy (argenteus), February 12 2004, IJmuiden, the Netherlands (52.27N-04.33E).
1cy argenteus in December, ringed in the Netherlands. (119951 bytes)Herring 5.429.2872cy (argenteus), 2010-2011, IJmuiden, the Netherlands.
1cy argenteus in August, ringed in Belgium. (90559 bytes)Herring Gull 6166438 2cy (argenteus), February 08 2011, Scheveningen, the Netherlands.
1cy argenteus in August, ringed in Belgium. (90559 bytes)Herring Gull 6166378 2cy (argenteus), February 19 2011, Zoetermeer, the Netherlands.
1cy argenteus in August, ringed in Belgium. (90559 bytes)Herring Gull 6166392 2cy (argenteus), February 19 2011, Zoetermeer, the Netherlands.
1cy argenteus in August, ringed in Belgium. (90559 bytes)Herring Gull 6166555 2cy (argenteus), February 08 2011, Scheveningen, the Netherlands.
rings argentatus: Germany
2cy argentatus in February, ringed in Russia. (84802 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy HL75 (argentatus) February 22 2012, Den Oever, the Netherlands. Picture: Herman Bouman.
2cy argentatus in February, ringed in Russia. (84802 bytes)Herring Gull X4J9 2cy (argentatus), February 14 2012, Noordwijk, Netherlands.
rings argentatus: Norway
2cy argentatus in February, ringed in Norway. (75189 bytes)Herring Gull JX0S 2cy (argentatus), February 28 2004, IJmuiden, the Netherlands (52.27N 04.33E).
Herring Gull 2cy (argentatus) J0AG February 05 2005, S Norway. Picture Nils Helge Lorenzen.
Herring Gull 2cy (argentatus) J9AE February 05 2005, S Norway. Picture Nils Helge Lorenzen.
Herring Gull 2cy (argentatus) JL6Z February 05 2005, S Norway. Picture Nils Helge Lorenzen.
rings argentatus: Finland
2cy argentatus in February, ringed in Russia. (84802 bytes)Herring Gull C59VH 2cy (argentatus), February 16-21 2010, Leiden, Netherlands.
rings argentatus: Russia
2cy argentatus in February, ringed in Russia. (84802 bytes)Herring Gull KP14 2cy (argentatus), February 04 2002, IJmuiden, the Netherlands (52.27N 04.33E).
2cy argentatus in February, ringed in Russia. (84802 bytes)Herring Gull KF03 2cy (argentatus), February 01 2011, Scheveningen, the Netherlands.
2cy argentatus in Jan-Febr, ringed in Russia.Herring Gull KV79 2cy (argentatus), January - February 2007, Westkapelle, the Netherlands. Pictures Pim Wolf.
2cy argentatus in Jan-Febr, ringed in Russia.Herring Gull KH89 2cy (argentatus), February 14 2010, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.43N-01.37E).
unringed 2cy Herring Gulls
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull argentatus 2CY, February 02 2010, Simrishamn, Sweden. Picture: Hans Larsson.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull argentatus 2CY, February 24 2010, Simrishamn, Sweden. Picture: Hans Larsson.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull argentatus 2CY, February 15 2012, Simrishamn, Sweden. Picture: Hans Larsson.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 21 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy, February 07 2013, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy, February 07 2013, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy, February 07 2013, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy, February 07 2013, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy, February 07 2013, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy (argenteus), February 01 2012, Scheveningen, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy (argentatus), February 14 2012, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 12 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 12 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy (argenteus), February 25 2012, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 21 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy, February 07 2013, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy, February 25 2012, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2y, February 25 2012, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy, February 25 2012, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 12 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 03 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy, February 25 2012, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 21 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 12 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 12 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 12 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 21 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 21 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 12 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy, February 25 2012, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull 2CY, February 03 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
2cy argenteus in February. (49053 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy (argentatus), February 07 2003, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.43N-01.37E).
Complete black tail.
2cy argentatus in February. (67979 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy (argentatus), February 09 2003, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.43N-01.37E).
2cy argentatus in February. (66532 bytes)Herring Gull 2cy (argentatus), February 18 2004, IJmuiden, the Netherlands (52.27N-04.33E). Completely juvenile.