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California Gull (californicus/albertaensis)


First Cycle
Second Cycle
Third Cycle


CALIFORNIA GULL (20-23";48-55") californicus/albertaensis

BILL SHAPE: thicker than Ring-billed; 3-4x eye diameter; gon. angle small; relatively steep curve to culmen at tip
HEAD SHAPE: rounded crown, sometimes w/ obvious peak; sloped forehead; distinct brow
WING EXTENSION: about bill length
POSTURE/HABITS: albert. averages larger w/ broader base to wings
BILL COLOR: pale flesh w/ clean black tip, more so on the lower mand; juvs in late summer may show all black bills pale yellow w/ squared black tip, sometimes w/ tiny pale yellow tip ... pale yellow w/ red gon. spot and black subterm line; bright yellow by spring; gape often red
LEG COLOR: dull gray-pink; may be pale green by summer very dull greenish-yellow to grayish-blue dull yellow w/ a green-blue tone; brighter yellow in summer
IRIS/ORB RING: dark dark ... iris dark to pale brown; orb. ring red
HEAD: pale around bill and throat; crown and aurs med g-b, often w/ fine streaks, darkest around and behind eye; foreneck and nape pale w/ light streaks or spots; heavy, dark blurred streaks on sides of neck fairly white; smudge in front of eye; thin dark postocular line; thin diffuse streaking on crown and upper nape and aurs; thicker diffuse streaks on sides of neck and nape back of head, nape and sides of neck often heavily streaked, ending sharply at top of breast; throat and center breast usually white; crown and aurs may be delicately streaked, often w/ thin postocular line; many white by late Feb. or with just hindneck streaking
UNDERPARTS: breast solid or splotchy med g-b; belly solid, fading into thickly barred or very dark undt covs; light barring on lower flanks throat, breast, and belly white w/ a few dark speckles, esp. on breast sides and along flanks white white
blackish blackish ... A-spots even or slightly decreasing in size; A7 slightly larger than eye; A10 same size as eye
(in flight):
dark above and below; slightly paler inner Ps form mild window dark outer Ps w/ pale inner Ps forming obvious window above and below med-large mirror on P10, usually separated from tip by very thin black line; small-med mirror on P9; black band to P5
(in flight):
blackish above and below w/ pale fringe dark above and below w/ pale fringe ... adult gray w/ white trailing edge; gray area shows slight contrast from below
TERTIALS: very dark g-b w/ faded pale tips; slightly lighter than Ps very dark g-b w/ irregular white marbling at tips; some may have adult gray ... adult gray w/ faded white crescent about 2/3 bill length
GREATER COVERTS: fairly solid dark g-b w/ extensive white fringe and subterm spots; may appear quite pale and spotted when standing, but a thin dark bar in flight; fade to pale brown g-b w/ extensive white marbling ... adult gray
LESSER & MED COVERTS: whitish w/ med g-b center or thick anchors, appearing irregularly checkered whitish w/ variable g-b centers or anchors; may be mixed w/ adult gray ... adult gray
SCAPULARS: juvenile: dark with pale edges; first alternate are 3-tone with adult gray w/ dark shaft line, variable dark g-b anchor or bar, and whitish fringe; juv solid g-b w/ pale fringe largely adult gray but w/ some g-b and white marks ... adult gray w/ small white crescent usually visible
BACK: as scaps; mostly adult gray by Mar adult gray w/ bits of g-b adult gray adult gray is med gray, w/ a flat gray, not bluish, hue; albert. is slightly paler
RUMP: heavily barred white white white
TAIL: solid black w/ pale fringe or subterm spots; may have barred outermost webs or barring at bases of outer retrices black w/ pale fringe and white basal portions of outer retrices ... white