BIRD 4

Bird Watching (UK) - - February Id Challenge -

We don’t want these chal­lenges to be too easy, so some­times choose birds in more ‘re­al­is­tic’ poses to work on. Here is a gull ap­par­ently tak­ing off from a roof. It looks to be an­other pale-backed, pale-winged species and look­ing at its right wing, there are no brown spots or stripes to sug­gest im­ma­tu­rity; this is an adult. The head is small and del­i­cate look­ing and the bill is slight, look­ing dark red with a darker tip. This is clearly a smaller gull. Per­haps the strong­est ID fea­ture is that very prom­i­nent white lead­ing edge panel, par­tic­u­larly on the outer wing. This in it­self nar­rows it down to a very few species, with Black-headed Gull be­ing the only com­mon one. The ‘head­phones’ pat­tern of black cheek spots con­firm this is a win­ter adult Black-headed Gull.

KEY FEA­TURES

†Small head and thin dark red bill

†Pale grey back and wings

†Ob­vi­ous ‘tri­an­gle’ of white in lead­ing edge of wing

†’Head­phones’ look typ­i­cal of win­ter plumage

White lead­ing edge Small, dark red bill Looks like bird is ‘wear­ing head­phones’

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