Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Large Hybrid Gull

The other weekend and before I got nicely distracted by the adult Med Gull on the Flats I also photographed what I thought then was an adult Yellow-legged Gull but something about the grey tone of the mantle/wings didn't seem quite right - it was just a smidge too dark, but not quite dark enough for Lesser Black-backed Gull.

I've since reviewed the photos and I've come to the conclusion that it could actually be a hybrid and most likely a Herring Gull (argenteus) x Lesser Black-backed Gull (grasselli). Large hybrid Gulls are not an uncommon sight but it's not an area I'm over familiar with so I sought out a couple of opinions and by and large the feedback I received was positive and in agreement that this bird could indeed be a hybrid.

Structurally the bird is identical to an adult argenteus and has a red orbital eye-ring and yellow legs (not strikingly yellow, more of a washed-out yellow). Unfortunately I never got any flight photographs (that's the Med Gulls fault) as it might have been interesting to see the wing pattern.

Hybrid Gull
Herring Gull (argenteus) x Lesser Black-backed Gull (grasselli).
To also back up the theory that this bird could be a hybrid, it also appeared to be paired up with a Herring Gull (argenteus) as shown below. This photo also gives you a good impression of the birds size and shape and just how dark the slate-grey tone was when compared with a Herring Gull (argenteus).

As always...comments welcome.

Hybrid Gull
Argenteus to the left and hybrid to the right


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