Sunday, 1 April 2012

Small dark billed, dark mantled Lesser Black backed - any comments?

I came across this strange looking Lesser black backed Gull on the Conwy Estuary today. The bird was darker mantled than accompanying Lesser black backed Gulls (as seen in the photo), it was also smaller and had a dark bill. Although it's head seems 2cy the body seems full adult - most strange. I would have thought 3cy would have dark primaries and some hint of immature feathering, while a 4cy would have a yellow bill. The eye was yellow. Could it be an 'intermedius' Lesser black backed Gull? Any comments would be appreciated.


  1. Pete Kinsella, North West gull guru, thinks it is a 4th winter 'intermedius' Lesser Black backed Gull. Breeding further east and north than our own 'graellsii', in the southern half of Norway and northern Denmark. They occur regularly on the east coast of the UK in winter and wander into the North West (Richmond Bank etc, however I'm not aware of it occuring often in North Wales. Any one else seen any candidates here?

    1. I've never ever seen any really dark-mantled LBB's in the area. Great find - a smart looking bird!

      I believe they're a tricky bunch and the Dutch (and presumably BBRC) only accept ringed birds - correct me if I'm wrong someone.

  2. Not seen one this age myself; the head and bill have got a fair bit of maturing to do yet.
    The mantle of intermedius is often nearly concolourous with the primary tone and being relatively so much darker than the graellsii adjacent I would plump for intermedius on this bird.
    Down at Richmond Bank the other day there were a few (adults) knocking about amongst the large numbers of graellsii.