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Heuglin's Gull

Note: This page follows the taxonomy suggested in Buzun (2002). Heuglin's Gull (L. heuglini) is divided into two subspecies: "West Siberian Gull" (L.h. antelius) in the west and "Taimyr Gull" (L.h. heuglini or L.h. taimyrensis) in the east.


First Cycle


HEUGLIN'S GULL (23-25";51-55") heuglini=taimyrensis/antelius

BILL SHAPE: quite slim with little gonydeal angle; about 4x eye diameter; moderate to steep curve to culmen beginning 1/4 to 1/3 from the tip
HEAD SHAPE: rather small and rounded, on a rather slim, graceful neck; may impart a more delicate look
WING EXTENSION: long; 1-1.5x bill length
POSTURE/HABITS: usually smaller and slimmer than argentatus, but larger than most Lesser Black-backed; similar to fuscus in shape; has long, slim legs; taimyrensis averages larger than antelius (except in bill and tarsus length), but still slimmer than vegae.
BILL COLOR: all black or w/ pale pink near the base; may be quite pale by summer variable, but usually pale pink or yellowish w/ black subterm band; may show some gon spot yellow, paler at tip, w/ orange-red gon spot; 22% of ante show black mark
LEG COLOR: dirty pale pink; may have blue-gray tone may remain dirty pinkish or be yellowish yellow, but often paler than bill; may be greyish; feet may be pinkish; taim occaisionally orange-yellow
IRIS/ORB RING: dark dark or pale pale yellow to amber; orb ring red, rarely orange to orange-yellow
HEAD: rather white but with streaking or mottling on crown, nape, and esp. auriculars; thick spotting forms a hindneck collar white w/ streaking over crown, nape, and aurs; heavy spotting across hindneck, often to breast sides white w/ fine light streaks on crown and nape, thick spotting forms a hindneck collar; taim. may have heavier streaking at times; nape streaking thru Mar
UNDERPARTS: rather white w/ variable g-b mottling; undt covs barred; quite white by first summer mostly white; may have some g-b mottling down flanks white
black black black w/ rather small A-spots on P9-10, increasing to fairly large by P6-7;
(in flight):
dark, may show a faint pale window on the inner Ps no A-spots present medium-sized mirror on P10, set back from tip by thick black band; minority w/ small mirror on P9 (on taim usually restricted to the inner web); ante w/ black to P3 or P4; taim w/ black to P4 or P5; dark area contrasts strongly from below; most show whitish base to inner web of P10, often to P7 on taim; white tongues to P7 or P8 create a "string of pearls".
(in flight):
dark w/ pale fringe ... adult gray w/ broad white trailing edge
TERTIALS: quite dark g-b w/ large pale tips and scalloping quite dark w/ large pale tips adult gray w/ white crescent to 1/2 bill length
GREATER COVERTS: completely checkered or barred, appearing paler in flight rather uniform g-b with paler edges adult gray
LESSER & MED COVERTS: cool g-b w/ pale fringe and dark shaft streak; may show some adult gray by summer adult gray mixed w/ g-b adult gray
SCAPULARS: cool gray w/ pale fringe and dark shaft streak; may show some adult gray by summer adult gray adult gray w/ small white crescent
BACK: cool gray w/ dark centers; part or all adult gray by summer adult gray ante: adult gray is medium slate gray w/ slaty or brown hue, slightly lighter than graellsii; taim: lighter, but still w/ slaty or brown hue
RUMP: white w/ little dark patterning white white
TAIL: black w/ pale bases to all retrices, creating a bold black band white w/ irregular broken black tail band 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.