Thursday, 11 February 2016

Slaty-backed Gulls - adults

One of the main reasons I went to Japan in December and January was to get some first hand experience of Slaty-backed Gulls. Thankfully this is the common large gull species in Hokkaido and it was hard to find any harbour area without them. The following images were taken from 25th to 31st December 2015 (just like the 1st-winters and 2nd-winters), and with a variety of weather conditions, I'm hopeful these images give some idea of what adult Slaty-backed Gulls genuinely look like. Light levels and snow do transform how birds look, so with over 30 photos here there should be enough to get the general gist. Here is my summary: -
- mantle colour variable from graellsii mid grey and darker to intermedius dark grey in extreme examples
- white tip to P10, with black subterminal band/area bordering obvious white mirror; P9 varying from lack of mirror to usually a small mirror and white tongue tips to P5 through to P7/P8
- obvious underwing 'shadowing' with primaries and secondaries dark contrasting with pale underwing coverts
- deep pink legs in all cases

extreme wingtip pattern on this individual

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