Western Gull (Larus occidentalis), Rotary Park, Lake Havasu City, AZ, Mohave County
This second cycle Western Gull was discovered by John West on 04 September 2010 and photographed on 05 and 06 September 2010.
Western Gull is accidental in Arizona with only two records prior to this
year. This, however, is the second documented report this year.
The large size and large, bulbous-tipped bill put this bird into the Western
Gull group. Glaucous-winged Gull is eliminated by the dark wingtips as is
a Glaucous-winged X Western hybrid (although not all experts consulted agree
with this conclusion). That leaves Western and Yellow-footed Gulls.
The overall brownish plumage is typical of first and early second cycle gulls.
This bird has round tipped primaries that are growing in. First cycle
gulls retain their pointed juvenile primaries. Therefore, this bird is
molting into its second cycle plumage. Yellow-footed Gull is unusual among
large gulls in that it only takes three years, rather than four, to attain adult
plumage. In all comparable plumages, Yellow-footed Gull therefore looks
more adult like than Western Gull. Even in first cycle plumage,
Yellow-footed Gull is whiter below that Western Gull. This bird is much
too brown below to be an early second cycle Yellow-footed Gull.
05 and 06 September 2010, photos by John WestAll photos are copyrighted© by photographer
Submitted on 06 September 2010