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Caspian Gull (cachinnans, ponticus)


IMAGES:



DESCRIPTION:

CASPIAN GULL (22"-27"; 54"-57") cachinnans, ponticus

BILL SHAPE: long and slender; 4.5 x eye diameter; small gon. angle; gently curved culmen, looking pointed; 1W may be shorter
HEAD SHAPE: long sloping forehead into bill; flattish crown; squared nape
WING EXTENSION: long; 1 to 1.5 x bill length
POSTURE/HABITS: appears long-billed, long-legged, and long-necked; often stands upright w/ wingtips drooped near ground
FIRST CYCLE SECOND CYCLE THIRD CYCLE ADULT
BILL COLOR: black; some w/ flesh base to lower mandible variable, usually w/ greenish-yellow base and dark tip as adult but w/ larger black subterm mark or band dull to greenish-yellow; sometimes flesh at base; gon. spot dull to reddish- orange restricted to lower mand; most w/ black mark or subterm band except when breeding; orange or red gape often shown
LEG COLOR: pink fleshy or yellowish as adult yellow or greenish-yellow to dull flesh
IRIS/ORB RING: dark dark usually as adult, otherwise dark pale yellow to dull gold or dark; orb ring usually bright orange; may be red
HEAD: often all white; may have thin line behind eye or fine streaks on crown or nape; thick streaks around collar often all white as adult but more likely to have some markings many all white; may have fine lines on nape and/or collar or larger splotches around hindneck; most white by Jan
UNDERPARTS: white w/ spotting from breast sides down flanks to barred undt covs. white; possibly w/ dark specks at breast sides and upper flanks white white
PRIMARIES
(folded):
black black; may show tiny A-spots black; may show tiny A-spots P10 extends well beyond P9, revealing mirror and long pale tongue
PRIMARIES
(in flight):
dark outer Ps w/ faint small pale window on inner Ps from above; paler gray from below blackish outer Ps; may show mirror on P10; dark outerwebs, paler inner- webs on inner Ps; quite white w/ dark outer P tips from below ... less black on inner webs than michahellis, looking striped; large or terminal mirror on P10 w/ thin pale tongue running along black innerweb; long tongues less obvious on P8-9; med mirror on P9; black markings to P5, sometimes to P4; white tongue-tips to P10; pattern appears whiter from below; pale area pale gray
SECONDARIES
(in flight):
dark w/ pale fringe above; paler gray from below; underwing covs often quite white w/ 2 rows of dark spots blackish w/ pale fringe; much paler from below; underwing covs almost all white as adult adult gray w/ white trailing edge, 1/2 to 1/3 bill length
TERTIALS: solid dark, nearly black, w/ pale tip or edges dark w/ irreg mottled pale tips as adult adult gray w/ moderate white crescent
GREATER COVERTS: outer feather solid dark g-b w/ subterm spots; inner ones more spotted irreg pattern w/ some adult gray adult gray adult gray
LESSER & MED COVERTS: rather dark w/ some pale fringes and some pale internal bars irreg pattern w/ some adult gray adult gray adult gray
SCAPULARS: pale cream-buff w/ thin sub- term anchor; looking like a cool gray shawl around back adult gray; may have dark spots in center of feathers adult gray adult gray w/ some or no white crescent visible
BACK: similar to scapulars same as scapulars adult gray adult gray is med-gray, usually paler than michahellis and always darker than argenteus
RUMP: quite white w/ light irreg bars white white white
TAIL: white w/ thin black subterm band black subterm band w/ jagged base; may appear broken on spread tail whte w/ irreg black 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 shampton@ospr.dfg.ca.gov if you have any suggestions for updating or improving this table. Thanks.