Herring Gull- Zilvermeeuw (argentatus & argenteus)

(last update: December 15, 2011 )

Herring Gull - 4cy /sub-adults December

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".

Characteristics in immature ringed birds

Sub-adult birds show a large variation in development of the adult plumage. Much of this variation can be explained by the geographical location of the native colony. On average, southern argenteus birds in 3rd cycle / 3rd winter plumage are early and advanced in developing adult-like grey upperparts (and this is also true for quite some Baltic argentatus). On the other hand, North Scandinavian argentatus often show a similar grey saddle (grey scapular area), but in most birds the wing-covert panel is still very barred and immature looking. In the table below, argentatus yellow KW65 has been added to illustrate the most retarded end of the spectrum. In this bird there are only single grey scapulars but otherwise KW65 appears very washed brown overall. Even the central 3rd generation primaries lack white spots.
KW65 can easily be mistaken for a younger bird, not 3rd cycle but 2nd cycle in its brown plumage. Still, separation from 2nd cycle birds is often obvious when the wings are streched, showing the pattern on cerntral and inner primaries. Even retarded Scandinavian argentatus with lots of brown in the wing-coverts show adult-like inner primaries which are grey with bold white tips. Sub-terminal markings on central primaries are normally deep blackish and sharply demarcated (not faded brown and no diffuse borders). These N Scandinavian argentatus may still have much dark in the tail and the centres of secondaries. As many adults from this population develop much white in the wing-tip, this may be reflected already in 3rd generation primaries (white KH89 showing this in optima forma: already thayeri pattern on 3rd gen P9).

The other end of the spectrum are southern argenteus. They commonly show grey scapulars, but also completely grey wing-covert panel. When tips of the primary are relatively bold and birds show an obvious mirror on P10 (both quite common too), such birds can be misidentified as 4rd cycle birds. This advanced looking plumage in 3rd cycle birds is illustrated by blue CLAR from Belgium. Interstingly, such advanced looking birds also occur in south eastern Scandinavia (S Finland), see red C1X6.

3th cycle / 3rd winter

3CY birds (Sept-Dec)   4CY birds (Jan-Apr)  
ARGENTEUS ARGENTATUS ARGENTEUS ARGENTATUS

Herring Gull argenteus A5AB 3CY, September 23 2009, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (Jean-Michel Sauvage). 3rd cycle argenteus advanced in upperparts.

Herring Gull argentatus C1X6 3CY, September 25 2007, Tampere, Finland (Visa Rauste). 3rd cycle Baltic argentatus advanced in upperparts.

Herring Gull argenteus GR53691 4CY, March 02 2013, Calais, France (Jean-Michel Sauvage). Argenteus lacking mirror on P10.

Herring Gull argentatus JN596 4CY, March 17 2014, Sandøya, Norway (Ingar Støyle Bringsvor). Retarded in coverts, 3rd cycle argentatus.

Herring Gull argenteus A5UW 3CY, September 28 2010, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. (Jean-Michel Sauvage). 3rd cycle argenteus advanced in upperparts.

Herring Gull argentatus KJEC7 3CY, October 20 2007, Tampere dump, Finland (Visa Rauste). Retarded in coverts, Baltic argentatus.

Herring Gull argenteus 5.W 4CY, February 11 2010, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. (Jean-Michel Sauvage). Retarded 3rd cycle argenteus.

Herring Gull argentatus JN717 4CY, March 15 2014, Sandøya, Norway (Ingar Støyle Bringsvor). Very retarded 3rd cycle argentatus.

Herring Gull argenteus FLAH 3CY, October 23 2009, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (Jean-Michel Sauvage). 3rd cycle argenteus, large mirror.

Herring Gull argentatus KW65 3CY, November 18 2014, Terschelling, the Netherlands (Jacob Jan de Vries). Retarded 3rd cycle argentatus from N Russia.

Herring Gull argenteus ZT A 4CY, February 05 2012, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. (Jean-Michel Sauvage). Small mirror on P10.

Herring Gull argentatus 4CY, January 05 2011, IJmuiden, the Netherlands (Mars Muusse). Very retarded 3rd cycle argentatus.

Herring Gull argenteus CLAR 3CY, September 06 2010, Westkapelle, the Netherlands (Theo Muusse). Advanced argenteus from Belgium.

Herring Gull argentatus C1X6 3CY, September 25 2007, Tampere, Finland (Visa Rauste). Baltic argentatus advanced in upperparts.

Herring Gull argentatus 5.365.846 4CY, March 10 2004, Brouwersdam, the Netherlands (Pim Wolf). Retarded argenteus with tiny mirror, from the Netherlands.

Herring Gull argentatus JN596 4CY, March 17 2014, Sandøya, Norway (Ingar Støyle Bringsvor). Retarded in coverts, 3rd cycle argentatus.

Herring Gull argenteus 8.9 3CY, November 17 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands (Mars Muusse). 3rd cycle argenteus retarded in coverts and secondaries.

Herring Gull argentatus KJEC7 3CY, October 20 2007, Tampere dump, Finland (Visa Rauste). Retarded Baltic argentatus. Faint mirror.

Herring Gull argenteus DX8T 4CY, February 09 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands (Mars Muusse). No mirror on P10.

Herring Gull argentatus JN717 4CY, March 15 2014, Sandøya, Norway (Ingar Støyle Bringsvor). Very retarded 3rd cycle argentatus.

Herring Gull argentatus KY61 3CY, September 15 2010, Westkapelle, the Netherlands (Pim Wolf). Retarded in coverts, but advanced in primaries, from N Russia.

Herring Gull argentatus KH89 3CY, October 31 2011, IJmuiden, Netherlands (Mars Muusse). Retarded in coverts, but advanced in primaries, from N Russia.

Herring Gull argenteus E.4 4CY, May 02 2006, Moerdijk, the Netherlands (Mars Muusse). No mirror on P10 in this Dutch breeding bird.

Herring Gull argentatus 4CY, February 11 2010, Simrishamn, Sweden (Hans Larsson). Retarded 3rd cycle argentatus, on location.

4th cycle / 4th winter

When photographes are available, the same ringed birds are shown again below, now in their 4th cycle plumage.

4CY birds (Sept-Dec)   5CY birds (Jan-Apr)  

Herring Gull argenteus A5AB 4CY, December 07 2010, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. (Jean-Michel Sauvage). 4th cycle argenteus advanced in upperparts.

Herring Gull argentatus J0434 4CY, October 14 2011, Barneveld, the Netherlands (Maarten van Kleinwee). Black on bill and pinikish base.

Herring Gull argenteus MJAU 5CY, January 11 2013, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (Jean-Michel Sauvage). Retarded argenteus from Belgium.

Herring Gull argentatus H277 5CY, February 25 2011, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Maarten van Kleinwee). Markings on coverts and in the tail.

 

Herring Gull argenteus 5.W 4CY, September 28 2010, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France. (Jean-Michel Sauvage). Retarded 3rd cycle argenteus.

  Herring Gull argenteus 5.281.170 5CY, March 10 2004, Brouwersdam, the Netherlands (Pim Wolf). Very adult-like when resting.

Herring Gull argentatus KFU4 5CY, January 06 2013, Terschelling, the Netherlands (Jacob Jan de Vries). Russian argentatus with marbling in tertials and coverts.

 

Herring Gull argenteus A7BS 4CY, October 04 2013, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (Jean-Michel Sauvage). Adult-like argenteus with much black on bill.

 

Herring Gull argenteus GDAV 5CY, March 12 2011, Calais, France (Jean-Michel Sauvage). Argenteus from Belgium, adult-like and paired in the colony.

Herring Gull argentatus 195.171 5CY, January 04 2002, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (Mars Muusse). Finnish argentatus with black band on bill.

 

Herring Gull argenteus 6.169.423 4CY, December 08 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands (Mars Muusse). Only few diffuse dark markings in coverts.

 

Herring Gull argenteus H.K 5CY, May 04 2006, Moerdijk, the Netherlands (Mars Muusse). Markings on greater primary coverts in this Dutch breeding bird.

Herring Gull argentatus H277 5CY, February 25 2011, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (Maarten van Kleinwee). Markings on coverts and in the tail.

 

rings argenteus: U.K.
2cy argenteus in March, ringed in France. (57822 bytes)Herring Gull A5AB 4cy (argenteus), December 07 2010, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.42N,1.34E). Picture: J-M Sauvage.
rings argenteus: Belgium
2cy argenteus in March, ringed in France. (57822 bytes)Herring Gull CPAX 4cy (argenteus), December 11 2011, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.42N, 1.34E). Picture: J-M Sauvage.
2cy argenteus in March, ringed in France. (57822 bytes)Herring Gull MJAU 4cy (argenteus), December 04 2012, Boulogne/Mer, France (50.42N, 1.34E). Picture: J-M Sauvage.
rings argenteus: the Netherlands
2cy argenteus in March, ringed in France. (57822 bytes)Herring Gull (argenteus) NLA 6.169.423 4CY, December 08 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
unringed 4cy / sub-adult Herring Gulls
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 03 2013, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 02 2012, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 15 2014, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 15 2014, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 03 2013, Katwijk, the Netherlands. Wingtip close to smith.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 15 2014, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 15 2014, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 02 2012, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 15 2014, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull (argenteus) sub-adult, December 08 2014, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 15 2014, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 15 2012, Scheveningen, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 15 2012, Scheveningen, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 15 2012, Scheveningen, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult (argentatus), December 19 2011, Noordwijk, the Netherlands.
3cy argentatus in January. (80207 bytes)Herring Gull sub-adult, December 02 2012, Katwijk, the Netherlands.
herring gull in December. (37656 bytes)Herring Gull 4cy (Larus argentatus), December 21 2002, Brouwersdam, the Netherlands (51.457N-03.51E).