Re: Gull ID Help Needed

Joe Morlan


Nice photos as usual.

I don't think your bird is likely to be a "Vega" Gull (Asian race of
Herring Gull) for several reasons. The bill is too bright, almost orange in color. Vega should be more like Herring Gull with a thinner dull yellow bill. More to the point is the underwing pattern which shows a lot of dark gray on the underside of the trailing edge of the wing. Again, Vega Gull should be more like Herring Gull, with the underwings all white except for black tips and white mirrors.

To me, the bird looks much like a Western Gull and I would suggest that it's either an odd Western Gull with delayed plumage development on the head causing the dark smudging, or more likely a hybrid Western X Glaucous-winged Gull which are not all that uncommon in the Bay in winter. Most of those hybrids have pale underwings, like Glaucous-winged, but they back-cross extensively in the Puget Sound region and there is quite a continuum of variation.

--- In, "jtnikon" <jtnikon@...> wrote:

I went to Pacific Common Linear Park yesterday afternoon in hopes of seeing the Slaty-backed Gull again. After 2 hours of searching and sorting out numerous gulls in the pond I was not able to re-find it.

However, I did re-find an interesting gull that I photographed on 11/13 and took a couple of images of it. This gull has dark back (as dark as Western Gull), smudgy head (way too smudgy for Western), yellow bill, brown eyes, broken white eye rings and pink legs.

So far I have people suggesedt Western, Herring, Herring hybrid, Western x Glaucous-winged hybrid, Vega and Vega hybrid but no one seems to have a solid answer. I did some studies on Vega Gull online and find it a very possible candidate.

You can find images of this gull at:

You can click on each image to see the large version.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Jerry Ting

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