Saturday, 12 January 2019

Possible Heughlin's Gull

Updated January 12th 2019.

Saturday July 22nd 2017 I found a second calendar-year gull at Cotesbach tip that had replaced all of its primary feathers. This is something not recorded in either graellsii or intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gulls, but is common in Baltic Gull Larus fuscus fuscus. The mantle and scapulars are too pale for a Baltic Gull. Heuglin's Gull is worth considering as they have been recorded with a full set of second generation primaries during summer of their second calendar-year. However, it is less common to see Heuglin's Gulls with new primaries than Baltic Gulls at this time in their second calendar-year. Or, possibly it is a very interesting gull just outside of our current knowledge range and so should remain un-identified? One regular contributor on Facebook's WP Gull Group said if he had to chose he would go for Heughlin's Gull. I was concerned about the complete set of fresh primaries, but check this out from the core range of Heughlin's in Russia 

Heughlin's Gull doesn't yet have a full criteria to help identify extralimital examples.

 Since 2014 and during the spring and summer months I have been searching through the first-summer  Lesser Black-backed Gulls looking for fresh black primary feathers. I struck lucky in July 2015 when I spotted a first-summer Baltic Gull at the landfill site, which has been now been accepted by the BBRC.

New Looking Primaries

Second Generation Tail Feathers (Retrices)

Open Wing Showing Second Generation Secondaries
Another View of The Second Generation Secondaries (note the neat unworn white tips and edges to the secondaries)


  1. Really interesting Carl........

  2. Interesting bird to say the least. But knowing that most of the Scandinavian LBBGs that come through Leicestershire originate in western Norway, and also that there are colonies containing both fuscus and intermedius breeding together, the possibility of this being an intergrade between the two must be considered as an alternative to it being anything from further east.