bill shapes, argentatoid GC, worn TT

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Picture ID: 870
Upload: 20.03.2011
Photo date: 25 September 2009
Location: mamaia, black sea coast
Photographer © razvan zinica
Gallery: michahellis 1cy
Species: larus michahellis

inserted pic:
quite frequently bills of large gulls in their first year (up to about 15 months) are misshaped or miscoloured. it might have sth. to do with malnutrition or some hormonal problems. such bills usually get "corrected" as they grow older, so as adults they have "normal" looking bills. this individual has a slightly overgrown bill making it look longer and slimmer, distance from gonys angle to tip is long. but note strong curve of upper mandible at tip, unlike typical caspian. compare with the very typical mich bill in the lower bird.
no doubt about the species here: postjuvenile moult has created a michahellis striation on head, strongly concentrated around eye, MC and GC have contrasting pale fringes. note rel. fresh (recently replaced!) upper scaps.

lower bird: this ind. shows very worn tertials and coverts, about 5 MC replaced, and 1-2 LC. upper scaps slightly bleached, lower (more recently replaced) ones fresher.
interesting is the largely even pattern of GC bar (not getting darker and dissolved on outer GC) but we don't see the outermost GC, they are covered by some flanks feathers.

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