Birds of the Week – American Herring Gull
The largest gull In Interior Alaska, slightly larger than the Glaucous-winged Gull, is the Herring Gull. This is a highly variable species, and ornithologists disagree on how many species and subspecies there are, and even what its name should be.
A big gull with pink legs and a honking big bill, it has black first and second primaries with white “windows” and a white tail, making it easy to distinguish from the similarly-sized Glaucous-winged Gull.
The Herring Gull is another four year gull, resulting in a truly bewildering series of plumage changes. The International Ornithological Union and the American Ornithological Union are in sharp disagreement – fist fights in the lobby, that sort of thing – about the taxonomy of this bird. The I.O.U. thinks are Herring Gull in the Bering Sea is a Vega Gull, not a Herring Gull. The A.O.U. mutters about subspecies. But this is probably more than you want to know.
For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.