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Ring-billed Gull


First Cycle
Second Cycle


RING-BILLED GULL (18-21"; 47-50") delawarensis

BILL SHAPE: rather slim; larger than Mew; about 3-4x eye diam; gon angle small; long slope of culmen to tip
HEAD SHAPE: rounded but w/ elongated crown; more dove-like than Calif; brow smaller than Calif, heavier than Mew
WING EXTENSTION: long; 1.5x bill length
BILL COLOR: flesh to dull yellow w/ usually sharply defined black outer 1/3, extending in on cutting edge; tip may be pale yellow, usually w/ thick black band yellow w/ black subterm band; rarely the band is faint gray
LEG COLOR: pink gray to dull yellow w/ greenish tone yellow to greenish-yellow
IRIS/ORB RING: dark usually as adult pale yellow, rarely dark; orb ring orange-red
HEAD: well defined streaks on crown and aurs, concentrated most around eye; nape more spotted; lores and throat white fine streaking over crown and aurs, densest before eye; heavier spotting on nape fine short streaks over crown and aurs; aur edge paler; thicker spotting on nape and neck sides
UNDERPARTS: white w/ variable spotting across breast and down flanks variable spotting or blotching across upper breast; otherwise white white
black black A-spots small and decreasing; A7 size of eye; A10 barely visible
(in flight):
outer Ps black; inner Ps pale w/ dark subterm spots, creating obvious pale window P7-10 mostly black; tiny mirror on P10 possible; black to P5 or P4 extensive black on P8-10; med mirror on P10; small mirror on P9; black usually on P5, often to P4; gray undersides show no contrast
(in flight):
dark w/ pale fringe; underwing coverts white w/ thin dark feather edges as adult, but may have dark marks adult gray w/ thin white trailing edge
TERTIALS: dark g-b w/ pale edges; may include large pale spots at tip of each side of shaft adult gray w/ thin faded white crescent adult gray w/ small faded white crescent, about 1/3 bill length
GREATER COVERTS: whitish w/ two rows of g-b spots or bands, fading quickly to nearly white adult gray w/ hints of pale brown adult gray
LESSER & MED COVERTS: whitish w/ dark interior diamonds, fading quickly adult gray w/ hints of pale brown adult gray
SCAPULARS: adult gray; may have a few dark marks or pale fringes adult gray adult gray w/ no white crescent
BACK: adult gray w/ variably scattered dark marks or pale fringes adult gray adult gray is pale cool gray, like Herring smithson.
RUMP: white w/ scattered dark V-marks white white
TAIL: white w/ broad black subterm band, mottled on outer retrices; variable thinner "shadow bands" at fringe and inside main band; single black band or mostly dark tail rare white w/ variable, usually broken, black subterm band or 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.