Saturday, August 24, 2013

Albino Ring-billed Gull

Gulls are hard to identify. Many take three or four years to attain adult plumage, with different patterns in each year. Gulls often show a lot of individual variation. Complicating matters is the rare but regular occurrence of albino and leucistic birds. I believe this photo, taken many years ago in Pierre, South Dakota, is an example of a leucistic bird (an albino would probably lack the dark bill tip). A normal bird in one of its first or second winter plumages would probably be dusky and show black wing tips. A dark terminal tail band is usually present.

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