This Asian species is one of the few gulls that shows black on the tail as an adult. Distinguished in all plumages by its long thin bill with no gonydeal expansion. Alternate Adult: The mantle is dark gray. The head and underparts are white. The tail has a broad black band, completely edged in white. The wings are long, extending well beyond the tail when folded. The outer primaries are solid black with small white tips. The long bill is yellow with a black subterminal band and red tip. The eye is pale, and the legs are yellow. Basic Adult: Like alternate, but with dusky markings on the crown and nape, but generally not around the base of the bill or on the throat. May show indistinct white eye crescents. First Cycle: Dark brown overall, with contrasting white belly and undertail coverts, and whitish rump. White feather edges on back create a scaly pattern. Face and throat are whitish with white eye crescents. The bill is pale pinkish with a black tip. The eye is dark. The legs are pinkish. Second Cycle: Shows gray mantle and more white on the underparts, but retains brown wing coverts. Tail is entirely dark, contrasting with white rump. The eyes can be either pale or dark. The bill starts to acquire red on the tip. The legs are yellowish. Third Cycle: Like adult, but has smaller white tips on primaries, some brown on the wing coverts, and a broader black tail band. Legs and bill may not be as bright yellow as on adult.
Length: 46 (cm) Wingspan: 119 (cm)
Tends to prefer rocky coastlines, but possible anywhere.
Feeds on fish, mollusks, aquatic invertebrates, carrion.
This gull has a very distinctive shape, with its long bill and very long primaries. When I first saw the Rhode Island bird, I first picked it out as a silhouette sitting on the water by this shape. It can be similar to Lesser Black-backed Gull, in fact the RI bird was first thought to be a strange Lesser, but the bill structure is quite different.
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this regularly, highly confident.
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|Mark S. Szantyr added a note to Black-tailed Gull Notes||9/20/2011 at 4:02AM|