American Herring Gull: 1st winter, Roberts Park Lake, Monterey, California - 11th March 2007
Note the similarity to European Herring Gulls of this particular bird.
American Herring Gull: 1st summer, Bolivar Flats, Texas - April 2008
Picking such a bird out amongst European Herring Gulls would a virtual impossibility. There are clues to the birds ID, other than location of course: the slightly paler head contrasting, minimally, with the under-parts, the more solid and plain outer greater coverts and the largely pale based bill. European birds by April could also show similar features.
American Herring Gull: 1st winter, La Merced Wildlife Refuge, California - March 2007
A classic 1st-winter bird showing the typical features well.
- The bill is mostly pale with a dark tip
- The head is pale e contrasting with the darker brown neck and under-parts
- The tail is all dark with white restricted to the outer web of the outer most feather
- Heavily barred rump and upper-tailed coverts
- Relatively plain based greater coverts towards the outer wing
American Herring Gull: 1st winter, La Merced Wildlife Refuge, California - March 2007
Same classic 1st-winter bird as in the previous image. Note the following details:
- The bill is mostly pale with a dark tip
- The head is pale contrasting strongly with the darker brown under-parts
- Uniform brown under-parts lacking the often obvious mottling affect shown by European birds
- The tail is all dark with white restricted to the outer web of the outer most feather
- Heavily barred rump and upper-tailed coverts
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American Herring Gull - Larus smithsonianus
First-years


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American Herring Gull: 1st winter, Salinas River Mouth, Monterey, California - 26th November 2009
A typical and easy to identify individual. Note the following details:
- The bill is pale based with a dark tip and cutting edges
- The head is pale contrasting strongly with the darker brown under-parts
- Uniform smooth brown under-parts lacking the often obvious mottling affect shown by European birds
- The scapulars are a mix of grey and juvenile feathers
- Greater coverts are dark browned based with darker notches
- Tertials are dark brown based wit white thumbnails

American Herring Gull: 1st winter,Roberts Lake, Monterey, California - 26th November 2009
A dull brownish-grey plumaged bird, note the mix of juvenile and newer grey mantle and scapular feathers. The median coverts show dark brown bases, appear as brown spots across the mid wing, paler whitish centres, form a pale band across the wing which contrasts sharply with the solidly brown based greater coverts. The greater coverts also show paler tips thus creating a second pale bar across the wing.

The tertials are dark with whitish tips.

Note the heavy barring on the upper-tail coverts.

The dark eye and still mostly dark bill age the bird as a first-winter.
American Herring Gull: 1st winter, Laguna Park, San Louis Obispo, California - 26th November 2009