Birds of the World

COAST BIRDS
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WORLD BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Gulls
 
 
 

TRAITS
 Ratites
 Tinamous
 Cracids/Galli
 Waterfowl
   Screamers
   Ducks

 Penguins
 Loons
 Grebes
 Procellarids
   Albatrosses
   Petrels
   Storm-Petrels

Totipalmate Swm

   Tropicbirds
   Gannets/Boobies
   Pelicans
   Cormorants
   Anhingas
   Frigatebirds

 
Waders
   Herons
   Ibises
   Storks  

 NW Vultures
 Flamingos
 Raptors
 Gruiformes
   Buttonquail
   Bustards
   Cranes
   Rails

 Shorebirds
   Sandgrouse
   Plovers
   Oystercatchers
   Stilts
   Sandpipers
   Gulls/Terns
   Auks

 Pigeons
 Parrots
 Turacos
 Cuckoos
 Owls
 Frogmouths
 Nightjars
 Swifts/Humbd
 Colies
 Coraciae

   Hornbills
   Hoopoes
   Trogons
   Rollers
   Kingfishers
   Bee-eaters
   Jacamars/Puffbd

 
Pici
   Honeyguides
   Woodpeckers
   Barbets/Toucans

PASSERINES
   NZ WRENS
   OW SUBOSC

      Broadbills
      Pittas

 NW SUBOSC
   NW Flycatchers

   Becards
   Cotingas
   Manakins
   Antbirds
   Ovenbirds
   Woodcreepers
   Antthrushes
   Tapaculos 

 OSCINES
 Lyre-/Scrub-birds
 Bowerbirds
 Aust. Wrens
 Honeyeaters
 Scrubwrens
 Aust. Robins
 Kinglets
 Shrikes
 Vireos
 Whistlers
 Corvids
 Birds-of-Paradse
 OW Orioles
 Cuckoo-shrikes
 Fantails
 Drongos
 Monarchs
 Bush-shrikes
 Wattle-eyes
 Vangas
 Waxwings
 Dippers
 Thrushes
 OW Flycatchers
 Starlings
 Mimids
 Nuthatches
 N Creepers
 Wrens
 Gnatcatchers
 Tits/Parids
 Larks
 Swallows
 Leaf-Warblers
 Bulbuls
 Cisticolas
 White-eyes
 Babblers
 OW Warblers
 Flowerpeckers
 Sunbirds
 OW Sparrows
 Accentors
 Pipits
 Estridids
 Weavers
 Whydahs
 9-prim. Oscines

   Fringillines
   Carduelines
   Hawaiian Honycrp
   NW Sparrows
   NW Warblers
   Tanagers
   Cardinals
   NW Blackbirds

TOP

 
Charadriiformes / Lari - Gulls
 
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Shorebirds, Charadriiformes
Pterocli - Sandgrouse
Charadrii - Shorebirds
Families: Seedsnipe, Plains-wanderer, Thick-knees, Plovers and Lapwings, Oystercatchers,
    IbisbillStilts and Avocets, Painted Snipe, Jacanas, Magellanic Plover, Sheathbills,
    Sandpipers, Phalaropes
Lari - Gulls, Terns, Skimmers
Families: Crab Plovers, Pratiincoles and Coursers, Jaegers and Skuas, Gulls, Terns, Skimmers
Alcae - Auks
Families: Auks
 
Species:  
Pacific Golden-Plover, Southern Lapwing, Blackish Oystercatcher,
American Black Oystercatcher
, Silver Gull, Western Gull, Heermann's Gull, Lava Gull, Swallow-tailed Gull, Kelp Gull, Dolphin Gull, South American Tern
 
Images:   
Sanderling, Willet, Piping and Semipalmated Plovers,
Masked, Southern, Red-wattled, and Northern Lapwings
, White-tailed Plover,
Eurasian, Blackish, and American Black Oystercatchers, Pied Stilt,
Northern and Wattled Jacanas, Snowy SheathbillWillet, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper,
Red Phalarope, Alaskan shorebirds, Laughing Gull, Forster's Tern, Black Skimmer,
South Polar Skua
, Bonaparte's Gull, Fairy Tern, Black Skimmer,
Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Klittliz's Murrelet, Black Guillemot, and Tufted Puffin
 
  Family Laridae - Gulls
Wiki     ToL     EoL
EXAMPLE
  50 species, 6 genera. Worldwide. Gulls may be divided into smaller, tern-like gulls and the larger "typical" gulls in the genus Larus. The taxonomy of gulls is confounded by their widespread distribution and zones of hybridization between species. The genus Larus appears to be polyphyletic and several other genera have been resurrected.
   Gulls are long-winged - ranging in size from the foot long Little Gull, Larus minutus, to the 29 inch Great Black-backed Gull, Larus marinus. Males tend to be larger than females. Bills tend to be slender, but it is heavier in larger species. The culmen (upper margin of the maxilla) is curved terminally - yielding a gonydeal angle - and the maxilla overhangs the mandible at the tip. There is no cere. All have webbed feet and their claws are not hooked. The tail is rarely forked (2 species) - see the Swallow-tailed Gull, Larus furcatus. One has a graduated tail. Most gulls have gray upperparts and a white head and underparts. Some are black above. Two South American species (see Lava Gull, Larus fuliginosus) are gray. Some have pink-tinged underparts. Many smaller gulls have a black head in summer and many larger gulls have gray streaks on the head in winter. Most have black tips to the primaries (only a few have white primary tips). Most large gulls have a yellow bill with a red mark on the lower mandible (directing the young bird's pecking during begging for food). Smaller species have a black or red bill. Eye rings and eye colors are variable. They have small caeca. Their pelvic muscles are AXY+.
   The juvenile plumage is predominantly brown. They have two molts/year (one complete). Many first year birds have a black band on the tail and black outer primaries (some smaller species have white wedges in the primaries in all plumages). Most species take more than one year to attain adult plumage (2 years in smaller gulls, up to 4 in larger species - each year's class with a different plumage) making gulls one of the most difficult groups in which to identify species. Gulls have three webbed toes and a reduced hallux.
   Gulls are common in the air, on the ground, and in water. They are opportunistic gregarious birds that traditionally prefer beaches and lakes - open wet areas. However several focus on dumps and other human sources of food (for at least some part of the year). Many take advantage of cultivated fields. They may hawk flying insects. Several are food pirates (kleptoparasites). They have learned to open clams and other large food items by dropping them on rocks or cement jetties to break them open. They have even been observed feeding on the meat of live whales at sea. Gulls are really opportunistic feeders. They even like bread or potato chips offered on the beach (not a good idea however).
   In winter, most gulls roost in mixed species groups on the ocean or along large lakes and rivers. Several species are pelagic outside the breeding season (kittiwakes, Sabine's Gull, Xema sabini). Two northern species spend the winter feeding around Arctic pack ice.
   Gulls have a variety of calls - they are often loud and alert us to their presence. In the spring, gulls often give the "long call" with a special courtship display. On Seabrook, we are quite used to the continuous nasal laughing call of our Laughing Gulls, Larus atricilla.
 
  Gulls have adapted to many habitats - urban and agricultural activities attract many. However, coastlines are their normal habitat, usually concentrated in more temperate climages.
   Gulls generally have less spectacular migrations than shorebirds. In some species most seasonal movements are made by young or non-breeding birds while many adults remain close to breeding areas year round (they wander or disperse rather than migrate). Franklins Gull, L. pipixican, and Sabine's Gull, Xema sabini, are trans-equatorial migrants.
   Gulls have a variety of displays - the "long call" is probably most conspicuous and is relatively ubiquitous. Most are communal breeders, nesting on islands (without ground predators), cliffs, or even buildings. A few nest in trees. They are monogamous and form lifelong pair bonds in some species. The normal clutch is 2-3 eggs. Incubation lasts 3-4 weeks in smaller gulls and perhaps longer in larger species. Young are precocial and may leave the nest within a day of hatching. However, for the first week or so, they are tasty tidbits for adjacent breeding pairs so they need to stay within their parent's territory. They are fed by both parents and smaller species young may fledge in about 5 weeks - larger chicks may take 7-8 weeks before the young can fly. Once the young are too large for adults to eat them, the young of some species form crèches.
   Gulls are long-lived (one Herring Gull,  Larus ridibundus, reached 49 years but 10-25 years is more common)
   On Seabrook, we can see five species: Bonaparte's Gull, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, and Great Black-backed Gull - in order of increasing size. The Lesser Black-backed Gull, an European stray, is also found on our list but would be an unlikely visitor (see picture of a visitor on Kiawah).
 
Bonaparte's Gull




Bonaparte's Gull
, Larus philadelphia.
Bear Island WMA

WIki     ToL     EoL
SI Web

 
     
  Yellow-legged Gull, Larus michahellis
 
Wiki     ToL     EoL
  The Yellow-legged Gull is found in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. It has been regarded as a subspecies of the Herring Gull but is now recognized as a distinct species.
  Photos by Ed Konrad   Yellow-legged Gull
 

Yellow-legged Gull

Hydra, Greece

Yellow-legged Gull
      Saronic Gulf, Greece
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
   
Banner - Heerman's and Western Gulls