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adult
Slaty-backed Gull

Fig 1) Slaty-backed Gulls are somewhat between Western and Herring in structure. Key field marks are: slaty gray mantle, large tertial and scapular crescents, white skirt, large apical spots, bubblegum pink legs, pinkish bill base, pale eye, red orbital ring, streaking on head and nape (much reduced on this bird in Feb), and hint of dark smudge around the eye (again, reduced on this bird probably due to time of year). February 7, 2012. Fort Baker, California. Photo courtesy of Todd Easterla.



Figs 2 and 3) Note the brownish streaking all the way across the breast, grayish eye mascara, and thinner bill relative to Glaucous-winged. The pale eye does not show well in these photos. January 3, 1998. Tacoma, Washington. I found this bird-- this is the one that got me into gulls! Photos courtesy of Ruth Sullivan.

Fig 4) The "string of pearls" formed by the white tongue-tips are much harder to see on this moulting bird. December 6, 1983. Approaching Tokyo Bay from NE. Photo courtesy of Jack Bowling. Fig 5) The "string of pearls" is most obvious from the underside. January 30, 1984. Off Hokkaido, Japan. Photo courtesy of Jack Bowling.