Herring Gull - Zilvermeeuw (argentatus & argenteus)

(last update: 01 april 2004)

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Herring Gull 5.281.1705cy (argenteus), March 10 2004, Brouwersdam, the Netherlands (51.45N 03.52E).

A Dutch ringed 5cy: Arnhem 5.281.170. Ringed 08 July 2000 at Texel, Netherlands. A typical Dutch argenteus. The head is complete white, all winter streaking absent. Adult argenteus may already return to the colonies in January-February, maybe depending on the weather conditions (mild winters north to 53 latitude along the coast of the North Sea). It's unknown in what way and to what extend weather conditions influence body feather moult, but from January onwards, adults may appear with snow-white heads. From late January and certainly from the first week of February, males start defending territories on the roofs of the industrial complexes in the harbour of IJmuiden and in the colonies of the Maasvlakte, near Rotterdam. 
From the second week of February onwards, adult argenteus from the Netherlands are in active moult on the head. This is often obvious in the feathers around the eye, which are shed by the second week of February, leaving a naked ring around the eye (visible at close range). Note the orange orbital ring and black on the bill (possible in full adult birds as well).