Herring Gull - Zilvermeeuw (argentatus & argenteus)
(last update: 08 december 2003)
Herring Gull EJ adult (argenteus), August 15 2003, Westkapelle, the Netherlands (51.33N-03.25E).
A bird with a Dutch ring: mint green EJ at tibia, from the Moerdijk colony ringed by Roland-Jan Buijs.
From June (often mid-May in France, Belgium and
the Netherlands) to October, a complete moult will bring birds in
so-called "adult winter" plumage. A new set of primaries will
grow during the summer months and by August, the outermost primaries
P7-P10, are still present in argenteus in the Netherlands and northern
France. In most adults, the new primary P5 is just visible beneath the
tertials. At the same time, the outer median coverts,
outer lower lesser and innermost greater coverts have been renewed and contrast with the old, abraded adjacent wing-coverts.
The central median coverts are still missing. In summer, the head is still largely white,
but by the end of the summer, most adults develop extensive 'winter streaking', in
sub-adults strongly mottled
brown contrasting with the white breast as in an executioner's hood. The iris is
yellow in adults. The bill is yellow with a red
gonydeal spot confined to the lower mandible in the vast majority of
adults. The orbital ring is
yellow-orange or orange-red in argenteus. The legs are flesh-pink
in Dutch argenteus, although the odd individual shows slightly