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Kelp Gull
(dominicanus)


IMAGES:

First Cycle
Adult


DESCRIPTION:

KELP GULL (22-24"; 50-56") dominicanus

BILL SHAPE: rather thick and heavy; 4-5x eye diameter; mod. gon. angle; rather steep curve to culmen near tip
HEAD SHAPE: moderately rounded crown; lacks fierce brow of Herring
WING EXTENSION: 1-1.5x bill length
POSTURE/HABITS: slightly stocky; may appear heavier than Herring. PLUMAGE MAY BE ON AUSTRAL CYCLE.
FIRST CYCLE SECOND CYCLE THIRD CYCLE ADULT
BILL COLOR: black, may have pale tip; pale base by summer pale yellow or cream w/ irreg. dark sub-term band, thickest on lower mand; black may fade up along culmen pale yellow w/ little or no gon. spot; slight blue-gray base possible pale yellow w/ rounded red gon. spot, often w/ cream tip; sometimes pale olive, blue-gray w/ no gon. spot; bright yellow when breeding
LEG COLOR: dull pinkish-brown or gray w/ tinge of olive or yellow toward summer grayish-brown to olive or blue-gray dull yellow yellow-olive to olive-gray; bright mustard yellow when breeding
IRIS/ORB RING: dark brown to light brown; orb ring gray to yellow iris as adult, possibly w/ dark flecks; orb ring orange iris varies from pale cream to brown; orb ring orange to red
HEAD: quite pale headed; thin diffuse streaks over top of crown, upper nape, and aurs; lighter elsewhere, esp pale aur edge; blurred dark crescent from front of eye to under eye, mixing into aurs white w/ dark smudge before eye; thin dark post-ocular line; light thin streaking on crown, aurs, esp. on aur edge; thick dark streaks on nape and neck sides; white band between nape and back white w/ variable gray smudge before eye; light streaks on crown, nape, aur edge usually white and unmarked all year; a few may have faint streaking or spotting around nape
UNDERPARTS: pale throat; light streaks on breast; belly darker and more blotched; undt covs barred nape streaking continues across breast; belly mostly white w/ few streaks; undt covs barred white white
PRIMARIES
(folded):
blackish, possibly w/ faint pale edge to tips blackish as adult but w/ smaller A-spots black w/ white A-spots, which diminish in size; A7 2x eye size; A10 is smaller than eye; worn down in summer
PRIMARIES
(in flight):
blackish; inner Ps show distinct pale subterm spots on inner webs blackish as adult, but w/o mirrors and w/ smaller A-spots black w/ large mirror on P10; 35% have small mirror on P9; P6-7 have slight pale tongues; similar from below
SECONDARIES
(in flight):
blackish w/ tiny pale fringe blackish w/ mottled pale fringe as adult, but trailing edge may be irregular adult gray above w/ broad white trailing edge, about 2/3 bill length
TERTIALS: dark g-b w/ tiny pale fringe dark g-b w/ extensive pale marbling and thin dark subterm band as adult, but white crescent may be speckled at bases adult gray w/ distinct white crescents, about 3/4 bill length
GREATER COVERTS: fairly solid med g-b w/ pale fringe and pale bars or spots on inner feathers fairly solid med g-b w/ pale tips and faint internal mottling, giving uniform to muddy look as adult adult gray
LESSER & MED COVERTS: crisp dark pointed centers w/ pale tips and sides, giving a dark checkered look med g-b w/ blurry pale tips, giving a muddy look; med covs often adult gray, forming dark band as adult (but underwing lining dirty or scaly) adult gray
SCAPULARS: like L&M covs, but w/ reduced pale edges, giving more of a scaled look adult gray w/ one white crescent, about 1/3 bill length as adult, but tinged browner when worn adult gray w/ obvious white crescent, about 1/2 bill length
BACK: solid dark brown w/ negligable pale fringe, giving muddy or scaled look adult gray, but may be muddied w/ brown fringes as adult adult gray is dull black, brownish tinge when worn
RUMP: white w/ scattered irreg. bars white w/ variable mottling, often faint white white
TAIL: brownish-black w/ pale barred outer webs, variable pale barring at bases or outer retrices (rarely extensive); tiny pale fringe at tips highly variable black area fading into white bases, esp. on outer retrices; pale fringe white w/ variable dark streaks beside shafts of central retrices; some have incomplete blotchy subterm band 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.