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Caspian Gull (cachinnans, ponticus)



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
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
black black; may show tiny A-spots black; may show tiny A-spots P10 extends well beyond P9, revealing mirror and long pale tongue
(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
(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 if you have any suggestions for updating or improving this table. Thanks.