Utah Winter Gulls

by Dennis Shirley

General Information  |  Gull Identification  |  Immature Gulls  |  Key to Adult Gulls  |  Species List  |

     Herring Gull
  (similar species)

Breeding Adult - pale gray mantle, large yellow bill with orange spot near the gonys,
pale yellow eye with yellow eye-ring, angular head
Photo by Merrill Webb   ©Merrill Webb

Adult - limited dark tips, not sharply contrasting
by Kendall Brown   ©Kendall W. Brown

Non-breeding Adult - streaks on crown, back of neck and sides of upper breast.
by Jack Binch   ©Jack Binch

Juvenile - grayish-brown streaked below and scaly above;
the back pattern becomes more barred and less uniform with age
by Ryan Houston   ©Ryan Houston

1st Winter - base of bill turning pink, gray appearing on mantle
by Kent Keller   ©Kent R. Keller

1st Summer - gray back with some mottling
by Kent Keller   ©Kent R. Keller

2nd Summer - no white spots on wing tips, brownish-gray on wings
by Kendall Brown   ©Kendall W. Brown

2nd Year - dark tail band, no white in wing tips, patchy gray and brown in wings
by Kendall Brown   ©Kendall W. Brown

Herring Gull

Similar Species
   Ring-billed - Immatures are similar; Winter Ring-billed Gulls are less streaked on the neck. Juveniles and first-winter Ring Billeds are paler overall than Herring Gulls especially on the head and underparts; these areas are white with varying amounts of black spotting on the back of the neck; Ring-billeds have a rounder head.
   California - has a smaller, thinner bill; adult Californias are darker on the mantle, and have yellow legs and dark eyes
   Thayer's Gulls  - have a brown iris and usually little or no black on the undersurface of its wing tips. 1st winter Thayer's has brown outer primaries which are the same shade or slightly darker than the rest of the upper wing surface. In standing gulls the primaries often show pale edges on the tips, and the undersides of the wing tips are whitish.
   Lesser Black-backed Gull - are smaller, with yellow legs and longer-wing appearance at rest, and have much darker mantle and wings; the bill is thinner without marked expansion at the tip. Adult and subadult Lesser Black-backeds have a darker gray mantle; immatures have darker inner primaries and greater secondary coverts.


1st winter Ring-billed - is lighter below, less streaked, has smaller, shorter bill, and rounder head
   Photo by Ted Fitzgerald   ©Ted Fitzgerald
Breeding Adult California - smaller, less stout bill, darker gray mantle,
yellow legs and dark eyes

Photo by Mike Ware    Copyright 2004 Mike Ware

Adult Thayer's - has a brown iris, smaller bill, smaller rounder head.
by Jack Binch   ©Jack Binch

Winter Lesser Black-backed Gull - smaller, with yellow legs and longer wing appearance at rest,
much darker mantle and wings, bill is thinner without marked expansion at tip.

by Paul Higgins   ©Paul Higgins

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