Re: Gull on Pelican Island

Duncan, Scot

Hi Larry,
That is indeed a strange gull, and a difficult identification.  I ran into a similar gull on July 4th at Pensacola Beach, and eventually Lucy and I concluded it was a Herring Gull.  I was also impressed with its huge bill, which I eventually hypothesized looked large because of muscle and feather loss around the head.  The link to the checklist and photos is below.  In the comments I included the full analysis that led us to conclude it was a HEGU.  Attached is a couple of photos of the July 4 bird which you can see is a different individual based on bill and tail color and overall plumage differences. 

R. Scot Duncan

Please excuse brevity and/or typos. No discourtesy intended.
Biology Department
Birmingham-Southern College
900 Arkadelphia Road
Birmingham, AL, 35254
office phone: 205.226.4777
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From: <> on behalf of Lawrence Gardella via <lfgardella@...>
Sent: Friday, August 5, 2022 1:42 PM
To: <>
Subject: [ALbirds] Gull on Pelican Island
This large, huge-billed gull was on Pelican Island, Dauphin Island this morning.  At first I passed it off as Great Black-backed, but the patterning on the back isn't quite right.  The legs are pink while other features are far from adult.  And the eye color is striking.  Amar Ayyash (from the Facebook group North American Gulls) doesn't think the bill is right for Great Black-backed, either.

If anyone else has seen this gull, I'd like to know.  If someone has photos of the bird in flight, those could be very helpful in making an identification.  Amar would love to see them.

If you are in the Mobile area, you might want to check to see if this gull is still around and get some photos, particularly flight photos.

Larry Gardella

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