08 May 2013

Hybrid Gull at WWT Llanelli

This rather smart presumed Mediterranean Gull x Black-headed Gull hybrid has recently been frequenting the Black-headed Gull colony on the main Lagoon at Penclacwydd, currently estimated at around 120 pairs. The bird was identified by Richard Davies, Wendell Thomas, Lyndon Evans & Julie Evans on 4th May, although earlier reports of a second summer bird suggest that it's probably been around a bit longer than that. Today it was posturing-displaying on its own, without attracting much attention, so second generation hybrids seem unlikely at this stage.
(c) Wendell Thomas
The main features pointing to it being a hybrid are the Med-like satin black hood, bold white eye-crescents and bright red drooped bill. Pro-black-head features are the apparent Black-headed Gull type closed wing pattern, the narrowness of the bill and the white nape. A key feature not visible in this image is the wing pattern which unfortunately we never saw today; hopefully someone will get this on camera. Photos of other Med.x B-h. Gull hybrids I've seen look far more Med-like than this bird, so not sure how unusual this phenotype is?


Paul Larkin said...

Barry, I had a bird like this in Kent a few years ago although the closed wing pattern was different it was more like the saw tooth pattern of a 1st year Little Gull. Intriguingly in flight the upper and under wing pattern was that of a Bonaparte's Gull. The hood and eye were exactly like this bird however. I did send a note to BB about it but at the time they had had enough of gull hybrid notes!! Interestingly I saw it 2 years running at the same site on the same date!

Barry Stewart said...

Thanks Paul - I suspect this bird's wing pattern may look superficially Bonapartesque, which with its black hood could easily cause confusion. Hopefully someone will get shots of the open wing above and below to complete the picture.