Herring Gull- Zilvermeeuw (argentatus & argenteus)

(last update: 6-11-2006)


Herring Gull plumages:

hg 1cy July
hg 1cy August
hg 1cy September
hg 1cy October
hg 1cy November
hg 1cy December

hg 2cy January
hg 2cy February
hg 2cy March
hg 2cy April
hg 2cy May
hg 2cy June
hg 2cy July
hg 2cy August
hg 2cy September
hg 2cy October
hg 2cy November
hg 2cy December

hg 3cy January
hg 3cy February
hg 3cy March
hg 3cy April
hg 3cy May
hg 3cy June
hg 3cy July
hg 3cy August
hg 3cy September
hg 3cy October
hg 3cy November
hg 3cy December

hg sub-ad January
hg sub-ad February
hg sub-ad March
hg sub-ad April
hg sub-ad May
hg sub-ad June
hg sub-ad July
hg sub-ad August
hg sub-ad September
hg sub-ad October
hg sub-ad November
hg sub-ad December

hg ad January
hg ad February
hg ad March
hg ad April
hg ad May
hg ad June
hg ad July
hg ad August
hg ad September
hg ad October
hg ad November
hg ad December

Herring Gull 2cy (argentatus), January 04 2002 , Boulogne/Mer, France (50.42N,1.34E).

An example of a 2cy argentatus with wear in the scapulars and bleached centres. 
is a breeding species of northern latitudes in Scandinavia, and as can be expected, the moult to second generation feathers is delayed, compared to south-western breeding argenteus. This individual still shows an almost complete juvenile plumage by January (note the second generation upper scapulars and mantle feathers), where argenteus would show second generation mantle-feathers and upper scapulars. The rear lower scapulars are obvious dark centred; however, they were not moulted but these are the longest scapulars, taking over two months before they are fully grown, therefore looking fresher.
quite often show narrow fringes combined with extensive dark centres in the tertials and pretty dark outer greater coverts, somewhat reminiscent of michahellis (but michahellis is of course much more advanced in the post-juvenile autumn moult). This argentatus, as most argenteus, show a deep-notched pattern along the fringe (although the white notched pattern is worn away by January in most 2cy argenteus).
The powerful and bulky appearance strongly advocate northern argentatus. Argentatus from the northernmost populations remain in Scandinavia for most of the autumn, and this factor, together with the later hatching date, may be one of the reasons the juvenile feathers are not as bleached as in argenteus by January. 
Birds as in the photo, with such limited post-juvenile moult by January are definitely not argenteus and belong to argentatus. However, remember that argentatus also breed as south as the Baltic states and southern Finland, adopting very much the same breeding habits as argenteus with similar moult scores (starting the post-juvenile moult in August) and wear in the lower scapulars, inner wing-coverts and tertials in 2cy birds in January (bleached and worn feathers in January).