In Devonport, a suburb across the harbour from Auckland, we stopped to rest our feet and watch a lady feeding a variety of birds. We recognised the Southern Black-Backed Gull as we’ve seen these in Tasmania but were not sure about this other one.Apparently the juvenile Black-Backed Gulls are mottled like this one is but I can’t tell from my photo if the beak is the same. It is a different colour . Kiwi readers can you help me out with this one please?
*Note: I now think that the second bird is a juvenile Black-Backed Gull after all. I have seen some photos of them on a bird site and they do have different coloured beaks when they are young. It would make sense for the juvenile to be with the adults who were feeding.
After researching, I’d say the brown one is a juvenile Herring Gull? I take my guess from this site that I found via Google: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Herring_Gull/id
What do you think? And by the way, nice photos 🙂
Hi Dennis I had a look at that site and while it’s similar I think that what we saw was a juvenile black-backed gull. In the link you sent I read that immature gulls are often mottled and they do change a lot, even beak colour, as they grow up. Have a look at these.https://www.google.com.au/search?q=juvenile+southern+black+backed+gull&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjC-q3AyOXLAhVN62MKHRwiDI8QsAQIIg&biw=1920&bih=921#imgrc=yIOynH9u1tXSpM%3A
Funnily enough I have rarely seen immature gulls here in Australia, only some where they are almost in their adult plumage with just a trace of the mottled feathers.
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Oh, true, they are similar.
Australian and New Zealand gulls seem similar to the herring gulls of the northern hemisphere though.
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So, you don’t have herring gulls? I didn’t think about that, but your idea seems to be right then.
I am no expert but I don’t think we do. The article mentioned the places these birds are found and I did not see any mention of the southern hemisphere. The most common gulls in Australia seem to be the Silver Gull, Pacific Gull and Kelp Gull. The latter two look rather similar to the ones we saw in NZ as well but obviously there is a lot more to identifying gulls than I first thought. You might enjoy the Birdlife Australia website which has information about all three.http://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/pacific-gull
Further reading suggests that the Black-Backed Gull is also known as Kelp Gull or Dominican Gull and that these birds have been known to interbreed with Herring Gulls in North America so your suggestion was a very good one as the birds are very similar indeed.