Sunday, 14 December 2014

Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)

Latin Etymology: Larus ("gull") glaucescens ("blueish-grey")
Adult Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescenswith Four Slaty-backed Gull at Akkeshi, Japan - December 2014

Featured Subspecies: N/A
Weight: 750-1600g  /  Length: 50-68cm  /  Wingspan: 120-150cm
NO UK STATUS / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Glaucous-winged Gull is another Herring-Gull sized species, in this instance the clear defining feature is that it's wing-tip feathers are patterned with grey rather than with black (as in Herring, Vega, Lesser Black Backed etc) or being pure white (as in Glaucous Gulls and Iceland Gulls).   It is another North Pacific species, breeding from the Bering Sea to Oregon, but spreading as far as Mexico and Japan to Winter.  It didn't seem especially numerous on my visit, while I don't claim to have closely examined all the large gulls I saw (of which there were many) it was definitely Slaty-backed which dominated in Hokkaido.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Larus
Subspecies: None - monotypic

 - Sighting Locations -
JAPAN - Japanese - ワシカモメ  /  Washi kamome  ("Eagle gull")
Widespread Winter Migrant to Northern Japan
 - TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: Single adult seen at Akkeshi associating with the more common Slaty-backed Gulls

Further Notes: BirdForum OpusIUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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