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Updated 1/12/10 Full 109 pages PDF Israel large gullsidentification guide


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Israel is a unique location to watch large gulls in the WP, offering identification challenges of some of the least known gull taxa,
easily observed in more than 7 locations from September to late March.

This fast identification guide includes 108 pages of photos and information
It aims to assist birders of all levels to find their way through the large gull group.

Enjoy !

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Updated 1/12/10 Full 109 pages PDF Israel large gullsidentification guide

  1. 1. Field identification guide to large gulls in Israel Created by: Amir Ben Dov and Yoav Perlman, October 2009 Updated June 2010 Moderator: Ehud Dovrat, Mars muusse Special thanks: Morten Helberg – Norway, Risto Juvaste – Finland, Theo Muusse – The Netherlands, Hadoram Shirihai, Prof. Peter de Knijff - The Netherlands, Klaus Malling Olsen Images: Theo Muusse, Mars muusse Gal Shon, Avi Meir, Yoav Perlman, Amir Ben Dov * Unless stated otherwise, all images by Amir Ben Dov © All images are copyright of the photographers
  2. 2. This presentation was created to assist birders to identify mainly adult large gulls in Israel
  3. 3. Some general notes: • Images are not a replacement to identification in the field • Image processing often alters colors. • Slide 7 aims to compare typical mantle colors to Kodak grey scale, but in no way to determine the exact Kodak scale number of each taxa. • Some taxa show significant variation in mantle colors, which can also be affected by light conditions • Gulls show much variation in size, colors, and even in major ID marks. Do not be afraid to leave gulls unidentified, for instance: “Larus sp.” “heuglini - type”.. • Mid January – late March, and especially mid June – mid September are very difficult periods for gull ID, with so many retarted, strange, moulting individuals that make ID even more challenging. • And finally and above all – don’t fear trying, its great fun
  4. 4. Basic gull topography Orbital ring Iris Mirrors Gonys Moon P9 P10 P5 Mirror Secondaries T6 T1 Advanced topography information in the following links : Gull topography 1 , Gull topography 2
  5. 5. Wingtip patterns Yellow-legged Gull P10 edge, All – most white P9 – white spot Black on P10 – P5 Caspian Gull P10 All – most white Very small amount of black P9 – mostly white on wingtip (smallest of all YL Gulls) Black on P10 – P6 very little /missing black on P5 Armenian Gull White mirror on P10 Black reaches P5 and sometimes P4 Allot of black on wing tip Heuglin’s Gull Large moons at P5-P7 White mirrors on P10 and P9 Medium amount of black Black on P10 – P5 on wing tip
  6. 6. Head shapes Armenian Gull Yellow-legged Gull Steep forehead, Moderate rounded head forehead Massive Relatively bill, small big gonys bill Heuglin’s Gull Caspian Gull Relatively steep forehead Flat forehead Large bill, prominent gonys Long straight bill
  7. 7. cachinnans michahellis armenicus heuglini
  8. 8. Moult ► Moult is one of the most important ID features ► Large gulls passes a post juvenile moult which is an incomplete moult, argenteus (more south and western) will moult only scapulars argentatus (northmost birds) may even skip the post juvenile moult heuglini has a rapid and extensive moult only after 7 months, normally including all wing coverts, but very often also tail and secondaries and even some random primaries fuscus is the most extensive one, very often including primaries as well michahellis and to a lesser extent cachinnans include scapulars and wing coverts which may start as early as August in these southern species. ► First moult is from juvenile -> post-juvenile moult in autumn and winter The plumage after this post-juvenile moult is often called 1st winter plumage ► In spring, a complete moult will take place throughout the summer, which brings birds in '2nd winter' plumage ► Then again, each autumn an incomplete moult, and each summer a complete moult (discluding heuglini and fuscus) ► In general northern and eastern taxa (i.e heuglini, fuscus) moult later than southern and western taxa (i.e. michahellis) ► Long-distance migrants often moult on wintering grounds ► Primary moult begins from center of wing towards tip: P1 to P10 usually one feather at a time on both wings, ► Secondaries and their coverts often replaced simultaneously ► In principle young birds have dark eyes that become paler as they age
  9. 9. Comparison of breeding range to moult timing in large gulls Moult start heuglini fuscus graellsii intermedius barabensis cachinnans armenicus michahellis North- easterly Reproduced with permission of the authors from: Liebers, D., de Knijff, P. and Helbig, A.J. (2004). The herring gull complex is not a ring species. Proc. R. Soc. Lond 271: 893-901.
  10. 10. Primaries moult once a year from inner P1 to outer P10 Unmoulted P6 starts growing secondaries P5 half grown T1 – T3 (central tail feathers) P1 - P4 new worn will soon moult and fully grown P10 P8 P7 All old and worn P9 Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis, adult, halfway through primary moult Ma'agan Michael 9/7/10 Gal Shon ©
  11. 11. P9 almost full size P10 half grown P1-P8 all new Heuglin’s Gull - Larus heuglini, adult, end of primary moult Ashdod 23/1/10
  12. 12. Armenian Gull – Larus armenicus Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight Bill – rather short, slimmer than michahellis Wing – adults show dark grey upperparts, and shorter than fuscus, typical adults show 4 colored bill (see slide 9) black on primaries up to P5 and mirrors on P10 only, closer to adult Gonys – medium size, but might look confusingly large at short range, and in juvenile michahellis wing males. 1st - 2nd winter birds show very pale Legs – from pink in 1st winter to yellow in adult, but never orange as in michahellis upperwing, especially median coverts and inner primaries Eye – dark in most individuals Size – smaller and shorter-reared than michahellis, larger than fuscus, but size can vary from very small females to very large males Head and mantle Color Color – head typically very rounded, adults mantle is rather dark grey, perhaps closer to heuglini than to michahelis. 1st autumn birds are seen in Israel from June. From 1st winter onwards they become much paler up to very creamy whitish brown when bleached Status in Israel - this is the commonest gull in most of Israel year-round, with large winter concentrations in fishponds, often inland. From end May – September juveniles are seen in Israel (especially Ma’agan Michael) and are certainly very confusing to identify from same age michahellis.
  13. 13. Armenian Gull – Larus armenicus, adult spring, Ashdod 21/3/09
  14. 14. Most adults show dark eye Medium-short bill, steep forehead and Relatively dark mantle rounded head lighter than heuglini darker than michahellis, and cachinnans Black band on bill characteristic in winter Armenian Gull – Larus armenicus, adult winter, Ma’agan Michael 1/10/09
  15. 15. P10 – white mirror Black on P10 – P4 Much black on wing tip Armenian Gull – Larus armenicus, adult winter, Ashdod 6/1/10
  16. 16. Extensive moult from early May – late August Armenian Gull - Larus armenicus, 1st summer, Ma’agan Michael 14/4/09
  17. 17. Often dark markings around eye and on ear coverts Armenian Gull – Larus armenicus, 1st summer birds, Ma’agan Michael 14/4/09
  18. 18. Armenian Gull – Larus armenicus, 1st winter Ashdod 12/9/08
  19. 19. Armenian Gull – Larus armenicus, 1st summer, Ma’agan Michael 24/4/09
  20. 20. This armenicus is in its complete moult stage, started perhaps in early march Between mid April – late August heavily worn and very bleached Central median coverts are new Inner primaries P1-P3 are new Armenian Gull – Larus armenicus, 1st summer, Ma’agan Michael 14/4/09
  21. 21. Armenian Gull – Larus armenicus, advanced 2nd winter, Ashdod 02/10/09
  22. 22. Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight Bill – massive, yellow-orange in summer Wing – black wingtip with white and early autumn, longer than armenicus mirrors on P10 and P9, black reaches P5 but not as cachinnans, quite similar to heuglini When comparing michahellis and heuglini both Gonys – prominent species share similar amount of black on wing, though heuglini shows white on P10 only Legs - thick yellow orange in summer, Juvenile – it is important to further discuss the ID yellow – pale yellow in early autumn of juveniles and 1st autumn birds of this species, as they are seen in Israel from mid Eye – large, pale to white iris, orbital ring June – mid September, mostly seen among juveniles and 1st autumn armenicus that also red in summer (when most common in accumulate along the Israeli Mediterranean coast Israel) (Rosh Hanikra, Acre, Atilt, Ma‟agan Michael) during the same period. Size – large gull, same size group of heuglini and male cachinnans In general it is a larger bird than armenicus, bill massive and gonys much stronger Mantle Color – moderately pale mantle Colors are very similar at this age and unlike colors, darker than cachinnans paler than mentioned in the book of Gulls (Olsen and armenicus Larsson 2004), the juveniles are not much paler, such difference can be seen only from 2nd winter Status in Israel – summer and autumn visitor from mid April – mid September. These 2 species are not as easy to distinguish The only breeding gull in Israel, from Tel at this age as often described though bill and head Aviv to Rosh Hanikra, structure being a reliable feature. about 20 pairs estimated to breed in Israel (May - August). Don‟t confuse with 1st winter fuscus that are It is most dominant amongst sea shore always dark gulls (only armenicus can also be seen during this period)
  23. 23. Mantle and wing color lighter than armenicus darker than cachinnans Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis, adult summer (early autumn) plumage, Nachlieli Island Rosh Hanikra 17/9/09
  24. 24. P10 - White P9 - white mirror The very last coverts of a young bird Black on P10 – P5 Massive bill, bright yellow year-round (in adults) Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis, 4th summer, Tel Aviv University Zoological Garden (natural population) 22/5/10
  25. 25. Massive head and bill Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis, adult, summer plumage Ma'agan Michael 22/5/09
  26. 26. Yellow-legged Gull – Larus michaellis, Tel Aviv University Zoological Garden (natural population) 5/6/10
  27. 27. Yellow-legged Gull – Larus michahellis, winter plumage (fairly rare winterer in Israel) Ashdod 30/10/09
  28. 28. Yellow-legged Gull – Larus michahellis, winter plumage (fairly rare winterer in Israel) Jaffa Port 4/2/10, Yoav Perlman ©
  29. 29. Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis, 3rd summer (4CY), Eilat 7/5/10. Image by Avi Meir ©
  30. 30. Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis, 2nd summer (3CY), extensive moult Safari, Ramat Gan (natural population) 4/6/10
  31. 31. Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis, fledgling, Tel Aviv University Zoological Garden (natural population) 18/6/10
  32. 32. Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis, Fledgling, Tel Aviv University Zoological Garden (natural population) 18/6/10
  33. 33. Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis, adult and 2 fledglings, Ma'agan Michael 6/6/08
  34. 34. Caspian Gull - Larus cachinnans Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight Bill – long and very straight. Wing – adult is easily identified in flight, Yellow in winter changes to yellow-orange in spring. Forehead rather flat. very pale grey upperwing, very little The small head and long bill give an impression black on the underwing, though black of a very long bill reaches P5. Dominant grey moons on primaries give the impression of very Gonys – extremely small and hardly little black on wingtip noticeable from distance. White mirrors on P10 and P9, often totally Legs – slender, in winter (when mostly seen) white-tipped pale yellow, longer and thicker legs than fuscus Eye – Pale to darkish iris (often darkish in spring) Size and jizz – quite big, slightly smaller than heuglini but males can be larger than female heuglini. General jizz of a long-reared and slender gull, with long wings and long, slender bill Mantle Color – The palest of all Israeli gulls, unmistakable with its pale silver mantle. Shows rather little variation in mantle color Status in Israel – a winter gull very dominant in northern Israel, especially Acre area where the largest concentrations occur. Few hundreds seen also in Ashdod area mid December – late March
  35. 35. Long slender bill in comparison to all adult gulls seen in Israel Adult uniformly pale mantle, wings and coverts (palest of all Israeli large white-headed gulls) Small gonys Caspian Gull - Larus cachinnans, Ashdod 30/1/10
  36. 36. Caspian Gull - Larus cachinnans, very large male Ashdod 19/3/08
  37. 37. Comparison between cachinnans (upper photo) and michahellis (lower photo) taken at the same date and light conditions note the difference in: Head shape Bill color Bill length Leg color Leg thickness Upperparts color Eye color Ashdod 11/12/09
  38. 38. Much white, little black Caspian Gull - Larus cachinnans, Ashdod 6/1/10
  39. 39. Very easy to identify in flight Very little black on wing tip • P10 + P9 with white tip • black on P10-P5 Caspian Gull - Larus cachinnans, Ashdod 7/3/10
  40. 40. Adults have pink or yellow legs Caspian Gull - Larus cachinnans, Ashdod 23/1/10
  41. 41. Steppe Gull - Larus barabensis Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight Bill – as this taxon belongs to the cachinnans Wing – extensive black primaries, group, as expected the bill is long and very reaches P3 (much black) with white straight. Most adult birds have 3 colored bill tip mirror on P10 red gonys, black between gonys and tip, and white nail – bill tip Gonys – very small as in cachinnans Legs – moderately thin and short, similar to fuscus Eye – usually dark (but not black) iris, sometimes pale. Eye very small in comparison to other gulls, and located in the front of the head (very good ID feature). Thin red orbital ring. Size and jizz– medium sized gull, intermediate between armenicus and small cachinnans. Often stands in a peculiar 45º posture tilted forward (not mentioned in literature) Head and mantle Color – moderately dark, bluish touch, intermediate between armenicus and heuglini. Sometimes nape and back of head with faint streaks Status in Israel – more common in autumn (mainly November) though can be seen frequently in winter and spring too, both in Eilat and along the Mediterranean coast (September – March)
  42. 42. Small eye in comparison to all other YL Gulls Long, straight bill resembles cachinnans Steppe Gull - Larus barabensis, bird rehabilitated in NPA’s Afek Wildlife Hospital, ringed and released by Yoav Perlman at Ashdod seashore 16/2/08
  43. 43. Steppe Gull – Larus barabensis, Acre sea shore 7/2/09
  44. 44. Often bluish mantle tones, darker than michahellis, paler than armenicus Steppe Gull – Larus barabensis, Ashdod sea shore 27/2/10
  45. 45. Steppe Gull – Larus barabensis, Ashdod 16/3/10
  46. 46. P10 - white mirror Black reaches P3 P9 – usually no mirror Steppe Gull - Larus barabensis, Eilat north beach 1/3/08
  47. 47. Bluish mantle and wings P10 P9 P8 P7 P4 P6 P5 P3 shows black Steppe Gull – Larus barabensis, Ashdod 16/3/10
  48. 48. Herring Gull – Larus argentatus Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight General Notes – ssp. argentatus (North Wing – black reaches P5,mirrors on P10 and Europe) is more likely to occur in Israel (one P9. In argentatus P10 is white to the tip. record, see notes below). In Argenteus P10 black at tip ssp. argenteus (West Europe, mainly England) was never recorded in Israel and is less likely to occur. argentatus shows darker mantle than argenteus and less black on wingtip Head and Bill – head and nape show extensive brown marking in winter plumage, Gonys – noticeable with red spot year round, in winter shows faint black ring on bill tip Legs – pink both in argentatus and argenteus Eye – very pale white Size – large gull, as big as michahellis Mantle Color – pale grey, resembles michahellis darker in argentatus than in argenteus Status in Israel – ssp. argentatus recorded only once by Ehud Dovrat et al. on 3/1/1987 Ashdod former sewage ponds
  49. 49. Very pale eye head streaking, shared only by immature heuglini and fuscus, in such extent mantle colors Kodak grey scale 5-7 Pink Legs Herring Gull - Larus argentatus argentatus, North France 3/1/2002 Image by Mars Muusse ©
  50. 50. Larus argentatus argentatus, 1st CY 26/11/2006 Belgium (Ringed at North Russia) Image by Mars Muusse © Larus argentatus argentatus wing pattern, U.K 6/1/92 Open wings images by Peter Stewarte ©
  51. 51. Larus argentatus argentatus, 3rd CY, the Netherlands, 31/12/2008 Image by Mars Muusse ©
  52. 52. Brown marking Very pale eye on head and nape Pale mantle colors Kodak grey scale 4-6 Pink Legs Herring Gull - Larus argentatus argenteus Brighton England 26/11/08
  53. 53. Heuglin’s Gull - Larus heuglini Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight Bill – strong and heavy Wing – black on P10 to P4 (and even 3), Gonys – big and prominent large white mirror on P10 and sometimes small mirror on P9. Legs – long and thick Eye – pale iris Large grey moons on P7 to P5, observed regularly in the field, unmentioned in Size – can vary from very large gulls literature. This distinctive feature can also (slide 54) to very slim gentle females (slide 60) , but most will look as large be seen in barabensis and should be further gulls studied. Mantle color – very dark, perhaps the darkest of all “pale gulls”, can be as dark as fuscus intermedius Special features – in winter, nape and back of head are heavily streaked. From mid January – March nape becomes clean white, or with faint streaks on nape Status in Israel – main wintering population arrives November – mid March, mainly along Med. coast and Eilat. Migrating birds arrive late September, can be seen mainly at Ashdod seashore and ponds (Yavne 4). Only ssp. heuglini recorded in Israel, taimyrensis unrecorded yet.
  54. 54. Usually large and bulky, streaked hindneck and nape in winter Heuglin’s Gull - Larus heuglini winter plumage, Ashdod 15/1/08
  55. 55. Compare with previous slide: same date, 2 different plumages / moult stages Heuglin’s Gull - Larus heuglini, spring plumage, Ashdod 15/1/08
  56. 56. Much larger gull than Baltic Gull Heuglin’s Gull - Larus heuglini, winter plumage, Ashdod 15/1/08
  57. 57. Some individuals may show faint stripes on hindneck also in January Dark mantle and wing coverts Long tarsus Heuglin’s Gull - Larus heuglini, Ashdod 30/1/10
  58. 58. Faint fuscus - like secondary pattern, medium-dark secondaries Large mirror on P10, small mirror on P9 Heuglin’s Gull - Larus heuglini, Ashdod 6/1/10
  59. 59. Clear contrast between black wingtip and rest of upperparts (no contrast in fuscus) Large mirror on P10, Black P10-P4 small mirror on P9 Large grey / White crescents on P7 – P5 Heuglin’s Gull - Larus heuglini, Eilat 1/3/08
  60. 60. Extremely small females almost same size as female fuscus ! Heuglin‟s Gull - Larus heuglini, very small female, Ashdod (Yavne 4) 19/9/09 (in the back - Baltic Gull)
  61. 61. Heuglin’s Gull – Larus heuglini 2nd winter, possibly male Ashdod seashore 2/1/10
  62. 62. Heuglin's Gull Larus heuglini 1st winter Ashdod 6/1/10
  63. 63. Heuglin's Gull – Larus heuglini 1st winter, Ashdod 8/1/10
  64. 64. Baltic Gull – Larus fuscus fuscus Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight Bill – long and straight, rather thin Wing – very typical, the easiest underwing of all large gulls of Gonys – small to unnoticeable Israel (see slide 57) – totally dark secondaries Legs – very short and moderately thin Eye – dark till 2nd summer, in adults very pale but not white. Orbital ring red in summer and autumn, but red still noticeable in winter Size – medium sized gull slender with elongated rear, it is the smallest of all large gulls and the easiest to identify, when compared with the Intermedius and the graellsii (not definitely recorded in Israel) who are much paler Mantle Color – usually coal Black, but shows variations with individuals showing paler mantle, fron heuglini type (in intermedius) up to armenicus pale (in Graellsii) Special features – some individuals (especially from Norway) can be heavily streaked on the head and nape (see slide 42) Status in Israel – second commonest gull after armenicus, especially on migration, in autumn seen from mid August in migration and in spring until late May. Winters in Israel in large numbers mainly in Ashdod area.
  65. 65. Black back Baltic Gull – Larus fuscus fuscus, Ashdod 19/9/09
  66. 66. Baltic Gull – Larus fuscus fuscus, Ashdod 19/9/09
  67. 67. Easily identified in flight - all underwing remiges black Baltic Gull – Larus fuscus fuscus, Ashdod 9/1/08
  68. 68. Very dark body, wings and mantle Baltic Gull – Larus fuscus fuscus 1st winter, (ringed as pullus on 27.7.08) Ashdod 27/2/09
  69. 69. Very dark head, body, wings and mantle Baltic Gull – Larus fuscus fuscus 1st winter Ashdod 2/10/09
  70. 70. Very dark body, underwing coverts and primaries Baltic Gull – Larus fuscus fuscus 1st winter, Ashdod 24/9/09
  71. 71. Baltic Gull 1st winter Ashdod 11/12/09 Comparison between 1st winter Baltic Gull and 1st summer Yellow-legged Gull Both can be seen together on Israeli coasts during late August to mid September Delicate head and bill Dark brown bird Mantle and wing coverts with dark centers and thin white margins Relatively short legs Yellow-legged Gull juvenile, Tel Aviv University Zoological Garden 18/6/10 Massive head and bill Paler brown bird Mantle and wing coverts with smaller Dark centers and broader white margins Relatively long and thick legs
  72. 72. Note active post-juvenile moult. All 2nd generation feathers very neat, recently replaced, vs. steppe - taxa which have the post-juv moult much earlier in the year (active moult in Aug-Sept) 2nd generation feathers Baltic Gull – Larus fuscus fuscus, advanced 1st winter, Ashdod 27/2/09
  73. 73. Lesser Black-backed Gull - Larus fuscus intermedius Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight Bill – as in fuscus Wing – as in fuscus, but of course lighter Gonys – as in fuscus Legs – as in fuscus Upperwing shows contrast between primaries (P10-P5) and rest of wing Eye – as in fuscus intermedius is slightly darker than graellsii, Size – as in fuscus but it shares the same moult strategy in Mantle Color – variation between dark autumn heuglini to armenicus. It is important to mention that there are as many as 6-8 black / grey levels within the normal variation of this taxon, and therefore it is difficult to positively ID unringed birds according to mantle colors. Status in Israel – as in fuscus but much rarer, some tens are possibly seen from September to late March. See also next slide. Most are regarded as „intermedius-type”, with small female heuglini being the main pitfall. Best separated by head and neck streaking.
  74. 74. ► No certain photographs in Israel ► Possibly very rare in Israel ► 2 observations of definite intermedius: 1. Ring JN4N dark blue collected at Dugit sea shore 31°58‘54"N 034°48‘62"E on 2/10/2003, ringed as pullus at Rauna, Farsund, Vest-Agder, Norway 58°03'33"N 06°40'10"E Seen recently in its breeding colony in summer 2010 2. Ring JV7K dark blue, observed by Ehud Dovrat, Ashdod 10 and 15/9/08 ► This true ID and status of this taxon in Israel needs to be further studied
  75. 75. Dark grey mantle, Not coal black like fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gull ssp. (possibly inermedius) Ashdod 30/10/09
  76. 76. P10 is in little short (same length as P9) Therefore it may well be Larus fuscus fuscus and not intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull - Larus fuscus ssp Ashdod, 27/2/10
  77. 77. Lesser Black Backed Gull – Larus fuscus ssp, Ashdod 9/1/08. Ringed in Nordfugløy, Karlsøy, Troms, Norway, in a mixed colony of L.f.intermedius and L.f.fuscus
  78. 78. Lesser Black backed Gull – Larus fuscus intermedius (front bird), Stavanger, 2/11/02, Westkapelle, the Netherlands, Image by Mars Muusse ©
  79. 79. Lesser Black-backed Gull - Larus fuscus graellsii Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight Bill – as in fuscus Wing – as in fuscus, but lighter colors Upperwing with contrast between primaries gonys – as in fuscus (P10-P5) and rest of wing graellsii is slightly lighter then intermedius Legs – as in fuscus but it shares the same moult strategy in autumn Eye – as in fuscus note the “Dutch intergrade‟ form Size – as in fuscus Dutch intergrade refer to birds from the Continental North Sea coast, which are Mantle and head color – varies from dark intermediate in grey tone between graellsii heuglini up to paler michahellis. In winter and intermedius shows extensive dark head streaks with white face; such individuals have never been seen in Israel Status in Israel – uncertain, individuals possibly of this taxon seen annually along the Ashdod - Ma'agan Michael seashore. No confirmed records from Israel of this taxon. Due to mixed colonies, hybridization and variation in mantle colors of all fuscus taxa, graellsii cannot be separated from intermedius if unringed!
  80. 80. Lesser Black-backed Gull – Larus fuscus graellsii intergraded with „Dutch‟ intermedius (right), and L. f. fuscus (left). Westkapelle, the Netherlands, 01/10/2009, image by Theo Muusse ©
  81. 81. Heavily streaked head with white face Lesser Black-backed Gull – Larus fuscus graellsii, 22/10/01, Westkapelle, the Netherlands, image by Mars Muusse ©
  82. 82. Lesser Black backed Gull - Larus fuscus graellsii adult female ringed in the UK, 3/4/03 Nachtegalenkeet, Maasvlakte, the Netherlands by Mars Muusse ©
  83. 83. Great Black-backed Gull - Larus marinus Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight Bill – heavy and large Wing – resembles fuscus in upperparts and underparts, though more grayish Gonys – massive and less black upperwing. Legs – pink in all plumages and ages Extensive white on P10, P9 and white tips to P6 Eye – pale but not white Broad white upperwing trailing edge Size – the largest of all gulls, larger than ichthyaetus Mantle color – variation between black as fuscus or paler between heuglini and fuscus Status in Israel – extremely rare, but since January 2006 an adult has been returning annually to winter at Acre port and coast from December – mid March
  84. 84. Massive head and bill Dark back almost as fuscus Great Black-backed Gull - Larus marinus, Acre port 10/3/09
  85. 85. P10 – tip all white P9 - tip all - almost all white Great Black-backed Gull - Larus marinus, Acre port 10/3/09
  86. 86. Pink legs Broad white Trailing edge Great Black backed Gull - Larus marinus, Acre Port 10/3/09
  87. 87. fuscus-like P10/9 – tip all white Great Black-backed underwing but broader trailing Gull Larus marinus edge Acre port 1/1/10
  88. 88. Pallas’s Gull - Larus ichthyaetus Main ID features at rest Main ID features of adult in flight This is a distinctive and well-described gull, Wing – P10 to P5 tips with very little shows rather limited variation black and massive white mirrors and tongues Bill – long, orange with black ring and white tip, swollen towards tip Extensive white primaries from third winter make it easy to identify at any Gonys – no special characters distance Legs – no special characters Eye – dark Size – the second largest gull in Israel (after marinus) Head– in summer completely black with beautiful white (“broken”) orbital ring. In winter and in all ages (from 1st winter onwards) head shows extensive black markings Mantle Color –quite pale grey Status in Israel – a winter visitor from late October – late March (but most arrive in January). In some years hundreds seen in the Bet She‟an Valley and / or Acre area
  89. 89. Pallas’s Gull - Larus ichthyaetus, Ashdod 15/1/08
  90. 90. Pallas’s Gull - Larus ichthyaetus, Ashdod 16/2/08
  91. 91. Pallas’s Gull - Larus ichthyaetus, Ashdod 9/1/08
  92. 92. Pallas’s Gull - Larus ichthyaetus, Ashdod 9/1/08
  93. 93. Some images of unidentified gulls These images emphasize the huge variation seen in the field Not every gull can or should be identified
  94. 94. Larus sp. Ashdod 16/11/09
  95. 95. Larus sp. possibly heuglini – Eilat 1/3/08
  96. 96. Gull-watching in Israel Ehud Dovrat, March 2009 Ehud is the pioneer of gulls color rings tracking and of gull identification in Israel
  97. 97. Major gull watching Lake Kinneret and Bet She’an Valley sites in Israel – armenicus October – March (thousands) where and when ichthyaetus December – early March, up to 1500 Acre area and northern Med. coast cachinnans December – March, up to 6000 armenicus October – March Harod Valley michahellis several pairs breeding on armenicus October – islands off Rosh Hanikra April – August March (many hundreds) ichthyaetus December – early March, hundreds Ma’agan Michael: sea shore and fishponds armenicus present year round, many hundreds in spring, many Thousands in winter Tel Aviv metropolin ichthyaetus December – Early March, Tel Aviv univ. and Up to 100 Ramat Gan Safari michahellis 2-4 pairs breeding on michahellis 7-10 pairs Pigeon Island April – August breeding, April – July armenicus October - Ashdod - Yavne 4 ponds, seashore and March rubbish dump – the prime gull watching site in Israel fuscus September – mid April, up to 1000 heuglini October – mid March, up to 300 Eilat – north beach, KM cachinnans December – mid March, 19, KM 20 up to 500 fuscus strong migration barabensis November – mid march, in spring, mid March – up to 200 late May armenicus October – March mainly heuglini mid March – 1st - 2nd winter birds late May
  98. 98. Caspian gulls – Larus cachinnans flock in an afternoon pre-roost gathering, part of a 5000 birds flock , Acre Valley 22/1/10
  99. 99. Pallas's Gulls - Larus ichthyaetus, Israel highest record number (1300+) Sde Eliyahu, Bet She’an Valley 21/2/08
  100. 100. Ashdod – Israel's top site for gull watching and for color ring reading. This site comprises of three sub- sites which hugely attract gulls 1. Shallow water ponds 2. Open garbage dump 3. Sea shore Development threats are hovering over this site (new highway, new industrial zone). Will it last ?
  101. 101. Mixed gulls, Ashdod: heuglini, fuscus, cachinnans, armenicus Ashdod 20/1/10 Yoav Perlman ©
  102. 102. Reading color rings in Israel Most rings in Israel are read nowadays in Ashdod sea shore and Ponds 31°51„09"N 34°42„26"E Yavne 3 ponds Yavne 4 ponds Ben Zakai reservoir, alternative resting point
  103. 103. Reading color rings in Israel • In late 1990’s (12/98 – 3/02) 7 Russian and 6 Ukraine cachinnans rings read at Shifdan (former Dan sewage farm) and Ashdod (Ehud Dovrat). Since then all rings read in Israel are of Larus fuscus fuscus • Best period to read color rings is from the 3rd week of September till late March • The ring code consists of color and digits / letters • As there are now too few free numbers left it became possible to read the same number on 2 different colors. Therefore it is essential to record both color and number. • Rings starting with J ringed in Norway Rings starting with C ringed in Finland Rings starting with M and A ringed in Sweden Rings starting with V ringed in Denmark (seen only once in Israel By Ehud Dovrat) • One of the world leading gulls ringers Risto Juvaste from Finland is leading a project ringing gulls in the White Sea area, southern Russia, and Finland. These rings are yellow KJ_ _ (ringed at Onega lake, Russia), white C_ _N (ringed in Finland), and white KR_ _ (ringed at Solovetsky island, Onega Bay White Sea, Russia) • Red Rings with white digits / letters, starting with U (fuscus, armenicus, barabensis, cachinnans), were ringed in Israel by Yoav Perlman after rehabilitation in the NPA Wildlife Hospital or trapped at Ashdod
  104. 104. Gulls color ringing in Israel Since 2008 red color rings beginning with U are being used in Israel Some birds were found poisoned / exhausted, rehabilitated at NPA Wildlife Hospital and released: fuscus, armenicus, cachinnans Other gulls were trapped at Ashdod: fuscus, armenicus, cachinnans michahellis pullus ringed since May 2010 in Tel Aviv University Zoological Garden Armenian Gull – Larus armenicus ringed at Afek NPA Hospital 8/1/2010
  105. 105. Some links to recommended gulls sites ► Gull topography 1 ► Gull topography 2 ► ► Identification of 2CY heuglini gull ► Identification of 2CY fuscus gull ► angullid.asp
  106. 106. Selected References ► Olsen, K.M, and Larsson, H. (2005). Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America. Helm, London. ► Liebers, D., de Knijff, P. and Helbig, A. J. (2004). The herring gull complex is not a ring species. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. 271: 893-901.
  107. 107. Enjoy gulling!