Friday, 12 December 2014

Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris)

OTHER NAMES: Japanese Gull, Temminck's Gull
Latin Etymology: Larus ("gull") crassirostris ("heavy billed")
Adult Black-tailed Gull (Larus crassirostris) with Vega Gull and Japanese Cormorants at Kamakura, Japan - November 2014

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 430-640g  /  Length: 46cm  /  Wingspan: 126-128cm
ABSENT FROM UK / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Black-tailed Gull is the most common large gull of Japan, it is resident all year while the other Larus species are largely Winter visitors.  They are a fair bit smaller than Herring-gull types however, probably a little closer to the Common Gull.  In Japan they are known as "umi-neko" which means "sea-cat" due to their cat like call.  I glimpsed a few of what was almost certainly this species from the train during my first visit to Japan, but had clearer views of them in the Tokyo area.  They were not in evidence in the sites we visited in Hokkaido, presumably replaced by the four larger Larus species that were.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Larus
Subspecies: None (Monotypic)

 - Sighting Locations -
JAPAN - Japanese: ウミネコ / umi-neko ("Sea-cat")
Widespread and Fairly Common Coastal Resident
 - KYOTO/OSAKA 2013 TRIP: Seen distantly from the bridge approaching the airport at Osaka
 - TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: Several seen at Kamakura and a single bird at Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red List, RSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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