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second cycle
Glaucous-winged x Western Gull


Fig 1) The thick black bill and medium gray mantle suggests this is Gl-W x Western. The bird in the background is likely a first cycle Gl-W x Herring. February 16, 2013. Petaluma, California. Photo courtesy of Steve Hampton.


Figs 2 and 3) Note the pale adult gray color above, like Glaucous-winged Gull, and the darker primaries, much closer to Western Gull in shade. Adult Herring Gull on right. Note that Western/Glaucous-winged/ Yellow-footed Gulls usually stand with a secondary skirt exposed (such as the Western Gull in the background), while this is rarely true of Herring gulls. February 17. Malibu Lagoon, California. Photo courtesy of Don DesJardin.

Fig 4) Apparent fresh second winter bird. This may be a pure Western Gull, as identifying a hybrid can be tricky. Note the bill is still mostly dark, which is not uncommon in Glaucous-winged Gull. August 27, 1996. Photo courtesy of Don DesJardin.

Fig 5) The bill shape, overall bulk of the bird, short primary projection beyond the tail, visible white skirt of the secondaries, and rounded head with small dark eye are all classic Western and Glaucous-winged traits. Moreover, the solid smudging, almost horizontal barring, on the head and upper breast are a trademark of Glaucous-winged Gull (other species tend to have vertical streaking). The mantle shade is fine for Glaucous-winged as well, but the very dark (black) primaries are not; that's a Western trait.