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Western Gull


First Cycle
Second Cycle
Third Cycle


WESTERN GULL (24"-27"; 52"-56") occidentalis, wymani

BILL SHAPE: thick and blob-ended; 4 1/2 times eye diameter in length; gonydeal angle large; culmen w/ steep curve to tip
HEAD SHAPE: rather small and rounded; may have a small pinheaded look
WING EXTENSTION: bill length or less
BILL COLOR: black; some pink at base by summer variable; usually with pale pink or yellow base and culmen; black subterm band or tip and dark around nostril variable; usually w/ pale yellow base, culmen, and lower edge; dark subterm band; gon spot possible bright schoolbus yellow, nearly orange-yellow w/ pale yellow tip; gon spot orange-red
LEG COLOR: dirty dark pink dull dirty pink pink to light pink light salmon pink
IRIS/ORB RING: dark dark; achieving adult color by late winter or spring as adult gold to brown, appearing dark from a distance, on occidentalis, light yellow rare; pale gray on wymani; orb ring mustard yellow
HEAD: dark sooty gray; often solid around eye and auriculars, giving masked look; diffusely streaked or blotchy elsewhere; paler behind auriculars, on nape and throat smudged dusky, esp around eye and on rear crown, aurs, and lower nape; streaky only on nape and neck sides; aur edge is palest smudging across crown, auriculars, and lower nape; darkest across nape; no streaking; may be nearly white white all year; very slight winter smudging possible in occidentalis
UNDERPARTS: blotchy to uniform dark sooty gray from breast to belly; undt covs irreg. barred white w/ light mottling on breast and belly; undt covs white some mottling possible on breast sides; belly white white
blackish black w/ faint pale tips possible black; tiny A-spots rarely visible black w/ A-spots larger than eye, except A10, same size as eye
(in flight):
blackish above and below outer Ps black; inner Ps paler w/ white trailing edge like adult but usually lacks mirror and A-spots; black area more extensive, esp on P covs extensive black on outer Ps; large mirror on P10; rarely small mirror on P9; often slight pale tongue on P5; often black mark on P4; quite dark underneath
(in flight):
blackish above and below w/ pale fringe dark w/ large white trailing edge as adult trailing edge about 1/2 bill length; quite dark underneath; shows white skirt when standing
TERTIALS: very dark w/ white tip or subterm cresent or chevron solid dark g-b w/ extensive marbled tips adult gray w/ traces of brown, esp on inner webs adult gray w/ white cres., about 1/2 bill length
GREATER COVERTS: fairly solid dark brown w/ pale fringe and sub- term spot; inner feathers more spotted; appears as a dark bar in flight; prone to fade brownish solid med dark g-b, often w/ extensive pale or marbled tips adult gray w/ traces of brown; slightly mottled adult gray
LESSER & MED COVERTS: dark brown w/ pale edges giving a dark scaled or mottled look med g-b w/ darker centers, giving a muddy look; some adult gray possible adult gray w/ traces of brown adult gray
SCAPULARS: fairly solid sooty g-b w/ dirty pale fringes, looking scaled on young birds but darker later adult gray; white scap. cresent 1/3 bill length often visible as adult adult gray w/ white cresent about 1/3 bill length
BACK: as scaps, but w/ less pale fringe, appearing darker; may have some adult gray adult gray mixed w/ bits of brown as adult adult gray is med dark in occidentalis (not much darker than California); quite dark in wymani
RUMP: quite white, filled w/ irregular dark bars mostly white w/ some dark smudges white white
TAIL: solid black w/ pale fringe; faintly mottled bases of outer retrices from below; rarely pale bars on outermost webs all dark w/ obvious pale fringe; pale mottled bases to outer retrices white w/ irregular jagged subterm black band; outer webs white 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.