Herring Gull- Zilvermeeuw (argentatus & argenteus)

(last update: 9-2-2007)


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

(2 images) Herring Gull H-124999 3cy (argenteus), March 29 2004, Westkapelle, the Netherlands (51.33N - 03.25E). Picture Pim Wolf.

3cy argenteus has a partial moult in spring. It starts in January and is completed by April, leaving birds in so-called "second summer" plumage. The head turns white, especially on throat, breast and belly. By April, the scapulars and mantle will show many adult-like grey feathers, creating a contrasting "grey saddle" in many birds, as most of the wing-coverts (especially the lesser coverts) are still barred. The wing-coverts start to fade and the fringes wear away.
The iris and base of the bill turn pale yellow, although some individuals still show a warm amber iris. The bill will show some red on the gonydeal angle and an obvious dark bill-band. 

These images present a typical argenteus, with an obvious grey saddle, but with the under-parts and head still largely in winter plumage (i.e. much blotching and specling). The bill is typical for 3cy birds in March, pinkish base and a broad bill-band. Note the rather brown second generation primaries lacking the mirror on P10. The tail is completely second generation, showing a broad band. Compared to Scandinavian argentatus, the general impression resembles argentatus in 4cy, which also show an almost complete grey scapular region and single grey feathers in the tertials, inner greater coverts and a few lesser coverts. 

P1-P10 are still old 2nd generation. This individual has moulted very few wing-coverts to third generation grey feathers in the partial autumn moult as a 2cy bird. This argenteus was ringed in Belgium, Bruxelles H-124999. As soon as ring data are available, this information will be added.