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Mew Gull (brachyrhynchus)


First Cycle


MEW GULL(16-18"; 47-48") brachyrhynchus

BILL SHAPE: small and slim; smaller than Ring-billed; 2-3x eye diam; gon angle very small; culmen curve gentle, beginning ½ way out
HEAD SHAPE: small, dainty, and dove-like
WING EXTENSTION: 1.5 - 2 x bill length
POSTURE/HABITS: often flies low over water, picking at the surface with its bill
BILL COLOR: flesh w/ slightly blurred black outer 1/3, outer ½ on lower mand blue-gray or flesh w/ blurred dark tip pale yellow; often w/ faint dark subterm band (esp on lower mand) w/ brighter yellow tip
LEG COLOR: pink to grayish pink (blue-gray possible) blue-gray to dull flesh greenish-yellow to dirty yellow or mustard
IRIS/ORB RING: dark dark dull yellow or amber to brownish (pale yellow rare)
HEAD: covered w/ blurred g-b streaks; pale near bill; aurs fairly solid; aur edge palest; may appear mottled streaking or spotting over entire head, denser around nape to breast sides; appears more white than adult lightly streaked on forehead, spotted on crown; variable smudging over rest of head, neck, and upper breast; center breast usually clean
UNDERPARTS: center breast pale; sides, flanks, and belly extensively mottled, w/ belly often solid g-b; vent thickly barred extensive mottling on breast; upper belly variable; lower belly white white; breast markings may extend down flanks
dark brown or blackish w/ thin pale edges forming crescents blackish w/ hint of pale A-spots A-spots diminish in size; A5 larger than eye; A6 the same as eye; A8 tiny; none on A9-10 (together)
(in flight):
outer Ps dark brown, though w/ paler inner webs; inner Ps pale w/ dark subterm spots P9-10 mostly black; black tips and longer black outer webs on P5-8; variable mirrors on P9-10; black on upper P covs limited black on all Ps; larger mirrors on P9-10; large white tongues on P5-8; thin black band possible on P5
(in flight):
dark brown w/ pale fringe; underwing covs mostly med g-b as adult; underwing covs white w/ extensive brown edges adult gray w/ broad white trailing edge, about 3/4 bill length
TERTIALS: med to very dark g-b w/ pale edges; may include pale areas near shaft at tip as adult, but may have dark markings adult gray w/ large white crescent, about 3/4 to 1 times bill length
GREATER COVERTS: pale w/ single row of g-b subterm spots; fading to all white by summer adult gray adult gray
LESSER & MED COVERTS: med g-b w/ pale fringe, creating scaled look adult gray adult gray
SCAPULARS: adult gray w/ hints of g-b and pale fringes when fresh as adult adult gray w/ small white crescent, about 1/3 bill length
BACK: as scapulars adult gray adult gray is med gray, close to Calif Gull, same as Kamchatka
RUMP: white w/ extensive dark V-marks or irreg bars white white
TAIL: solid dark g-b w/ pale fringe; bases of outer retrices slightly paler white w/ irreg broken black band or subterm marks white

The was table created by Steve Hampton and is intended to futher our knowledge of gull identification. Please email me at if you have any suggestions for updating or improving this table. Thanks.