Herring Gull (argentatus & argenteus)

(last update: February 11, 2013)

Herring Gull (argentatus) KP14 2cy, February 04 2002, IJmuiden, the Netherlands (52.27N-04.33E).

A very interesting 2cy bird with on the right tarsus a white colour-ring KP14 and a metal ring Moskwa DB-399599. As can be seen in the image, this is a strong powerful 2cy argentatus with almost the complete juvenile plumage retained. The scapulars show wear in the white notched fringe but the coverts and tertials appear remarkable fresh considering it's already February. The outer primary P10 is clearly longer than p9 and the over-all impression is that of a long-winged bird. Note the rather dark, clay-brown tone of the plumage, unlike the paler, washed-out brown of first winter Dutch argenteus. It was born last summer along the coast of the White Sea in the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve (67.15N,32.30E), Murmansk District, Russia in a project of Vitaly Bianki. The exact data: ringed on July 05 2001 on Lunnaya Island, Kandalaksha Bay in the White Sea (67.05N,32.29E). Many thanks to Vitaly, who wrote a paper about the ring recoveries of his project, which can be order at the Bird Ringing Centre of Russia. If it is out of print, you can ask how to obtain this report in the Centre after mid-August 2002 by e-mail: ring@bird.msk.ru. Title: "Marking of Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus) with plastic rings." In this book you find ringing records from Russia and adjacent countries 1988-1999. The report is in Russia, with an English summary.

2cy 2002 2 4 Ijmuiden haven NH NH NL 52.27 N 4.33 E M Muusse
2cy 2002 2 9 Ijmuiden haven NH NH NL 52.27 N 4.33 E T Muusse
2cy 2002 3 2 Ijmuiden haven NH NH NL 52.27 N 4.33 E K en J Verbeek
2cy 2002 3 10 Ijmuiden haven NH NH NL 52.27 N 4.33 E K en J Verbeek
2cy 2002 3 16 Ijmuiden haven NH NH NL 52.27 N 4.33 E K en J Verbeek
2cy 2002 4 13 Ijmuiden haven NH NH NL 52.27 N 4.33 E K en J Verbeek

From this region, Kleinschmidt describes a large, very long-winged Larus argentatus major breeding from the SE Baltic towards the White Sea. It's a pale grey mantled and partly yellow-footed Herring Gull in adult plumage. The juvenile and 2cy plumage are not described. However, this bird strongly resembles the argentatus from Finnmark Scandinavia, entering the Netherlands by mid-winter.

Here is a comment on this ringed bird, I received from Peter Stewart:

  • The 2cy year bird from Russia is most interesting. We (in Worcestershire, Britain) catch large argentatus in winter of obvious northern Scandinavia / NW Russian origin. These birds are interesting in that rarely do birds show the same wing-tip pattern. The combination seems endless. Pale yellow bills and very pink legs are most typical characters of these birds. I have a nice small collection of photographs showing the head and wing tips patterns of some these birds. I did a small article in one of our bulletins regarding birds with 'thayeri' wing tip patterns, including a couple of tipped in photographs. One bird showed a wing tip pattern typical of Herring x Glaucous hybrids of Iceland. I sent my photographs to Agnar Ingolfssson who did the research on hybridisation in Iceland, and he confirmed that one of my pictures indeed showed hybrids characters. I always believed, and still do, that hybridisation between Herring and Glaucous Gull takes place some up there in northern Scandinavia or on the Murmansk Coast. An extreme 'thayeri' type with very little black in the wing tip was found by Norman van Swelm in Holland. And another similar bird photograph flying around grounded flock of heuglini in NW Russia. In my database I have six recoveries of argentatus in northern Norway, and a caught bird that had been ringed on the Murmansk coast.
    We caught a huge argentatus last year with a head measurement of 15.2 cm from the tip of the bill to the back of the head. This bird was most vicious. Unfortunately we did not take any other measurements or photograph this bird as I was more interested in getting measurements from Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Peter sent some nice images, which can now be found in the adult section: here, here, here, here and here. Another ringed bird from Murmansk was seen November 2002: 2cy KP51.