Herring Gull - Zilvermeeuw (argentatus & argenteus): sub-adult February

(last update: 08 december 2003)

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Herring Gull 4cy (argenteus), February 04 2002, IJmuiden, the Netherlands (52.27N-04.33E). 

This 4cy argenteus show many coverts and tertials with faint brown markings on the grey bases. The third generation primaries are obviously white-tipped and both primary P9 and P10 show a mirror. Note the brown outer primary coverts.

From January to April, 4cy argenteus moult to so-called "third summer" plumage. By April, the head and under-parts will appear all-white. The tail-feathers, wing-coverts and primaries are not replaced, therefore most birds strongly resemble "third winter"  birds, although the white primary tips wear away and dark patches start to bleach. The iris is often yellowish, the orbital ring yellowish-orange and the bill predominantly yellow with a red gonydeal spot and limited black markings along the culmen by April.