Common Gull South of Adam Beck on 6 January 2010

Larus canus canus/heinei

Dean DiTommaso, Kevin McLaughlin and I found this gull on the roosting rocks on the American side of the River just south of Adam Beck, but it flew several times onto the Canadian side. First spotted by Dean DiTommaso about 11:00 a.m. on 6 January 2010. This is not the same gull that Betsy Potter, Willie D'Anna and I found on 1 January 2010, which is shown here:


Larus canus canus/heinei was accepted by the 2010 Ontario Bird Records Committee as the first record of  Common Gull for Ontario. Scroll down for 5 photos taken on 6 January 2010.

It has a dark narrow ring on the bill which is rarely on Mew Gull (Larus canus brachyrhynchus). The bill is smaller and thinner than on Ring-billed Gull and the ring on the bill is is about a third the width. Its mantle was slightly darker than Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, but was paler than 1 January Mew Gull. It had bright yellow legs, brighter than l January Mew Gull. The tertial crescent is narrower than on the Mew Gull but wider than Ring-billed Gull. It has fine head and neck streaking and lacked Mew Gull's "woolly scarf" around the neck and onto the breast. Its eyes were dark. 6 January 2010.

The spread wingtips show the large mirrors on Primaries 10 and 9. Spread wing shows Primary 8 is extensively black with no grey tongue reaching a pearl or spot. Common Gulls often have a small mirror on Primary 8 as shown above. See Gulls of the Americas 2007 by Howell and Dunn, pages 134 and 383.


Wingtips lack the string of pearls found on Mew Gull. Several times the gulls flushed and we picked it out easily in flight by the slightly darker mantle, wide white trailing edge to the secondaries and large white mirrors on P10 and 9. We followed it in our scopes and could not see a well-defined string of pearls (spots) even though it was flying directly below us.


Spread wing showing the wide white trailing edge to the secondaries and not extending onto the primaries.


 Ring-billed Gull on left with Common Gull on right. 6 January 2010.


Link to Brad Carlson's photo of spread wing showing Common Gull pattern on 7 January 2010:

Link to North American Mew Gull Larus canus brachyrhynchus seen on 1 January 2010

Four links to photos of Common Gulls

 1. Wales October 2009  2. Newfoundland January 2008  3. Newfoundland 2007  4. Common Gulls in Scandinavia July 2008