Bird Families

GAZ-13 by Karen Demirchyan, or How Armenian Seagulls Carried Important Chiefs

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Latin name:Larus michahellis
Detachment:Charadriiformes
Family:Gulls

Appearance and behavior... A large bald gull, similar in size and color to herring gull and gull. The legs and wings are relatively long, the powerful beak is relatively short and blunt, the neck is powerful, the crown is flat. During a long cry, it first lowers its head, then raises it vertically upward, like a clump. Body length 58–68 cm, wingspan 140–158 cm, weight 800–1,500 g.

Description... Adult birds have a white head in summer. The mantle is dark gray, similar to that of northern herring gulls, the wings are dark gray with an extensive black field at the end of the wing, which captures 6, sometimes 7 flight feathers (from the tenth to the fifth or fourth). The fifth primary feather has a rather wide black stripe, the outermost primary feather (tenth) has a small white preapical spot, the adjacent ninth feather is usually the same. In some birds, the tenth feather has a completely white tip, like the typical gull. The bill is bright yellow, with a bright red spot on the beak of the mandible, which often passes over to the mandible. The eyes are yellow, the eyelids are red. Legs are exceptionally bright yellow. In winter, adult birds retain a mostly white head (in contrast to the herring gull), usually with few small light gray streaks around the eyes.

Young birds in nesting plumage have dark plumage, but the head and lower body quickly begin to brighten and contrast with the dark mantle and completely black beak. A dark spot is often noticeable behind the eye. The brown feathers take on a characteristic warm hue. In flying birds, a small bright field is visible on the inner primary flight feathers. In rare cases, all internal primary flight feathers are dark. The dark outer large upper wing coverts form an incomplete dark stripe. The tertiary primary feathers are dark brown, with a narrow light border. Uppertail and tail are white, with a contrasting black pre-apical stripe and white tips of tail feathers. The underwing is rather dark, with many dark streaks on the coverts, but lighter than that of the herring gull. Mediterranean gulls begin molting early in their first winter outfit and can acquire it as early as early September. During the first winter, the Mediterranean gull, in contrast to the herring gull, replaces some of the wing coverts. A year later, in the second winter plumage, she, like the gull, usually looks older than the herring gull of the same age, having numerous gray feathers on the mantle (gray “saddle”) and among the wing coverts. The head and underparts are white, there are few or no dark streaks. Underwing coverts with numerous brown streaks, less clean than those of the gull. Unlike the typical gull, the iris begins to brighten. In the third winter plumage, the Mediterranean gull acquires a more adult appearance.

Color changeable... The mantle and tops of the wings are dark gray, with some black coverts of the primary flight feathers. External primary primary feathers are black, with a small white preapical spot on the extreme, tenth, and sometimes on the adjacent ninth, but white spots may be completely absent. There is a black stripe on the fifth flight feather. The head and bottom are white. The tail is white or even with the remainder of black spots. The color of the beak is variable: yellow with a black and red spot at the end, or still mostly dark. Legs are yellowish or still pinkish. Adult birds are very similar to adult yellow-legged herring gulls and to a lesser extent to laughing gulls. It is important to pay attention to the color of the beak (it is bright yellow with a large bright red spot on the mandible, passing to the upper beak, which is rare in the herring gull and gull), the black field at the end of the wing (it is clearly smaller and often does not go to the fifth flight feather in Baltic and northern herring gulls) and in proportion (in comparison with the herring gull, relatively long legs and wings, a powerful, blunt beak, which sometimes resembles that of a sea gull). During a long cry, he holds his head upright, in contrast to the herring gull, which holds his head at a 45 ° angle.

When identifying young birds in nesting and first winter plumage, it is advisable to have a good look at the bird on the ground and in flight. In comparison with the usually darker herring gulls, the light head and underside are striking, contrasting with the dark mantle, the spot behind the eye and the black beak. The absence of a clear bright field on the inner primary flight feathers, which is characteristic of young herring gulls, is noticeable. Another important feature is the coloration of tertiary flight feathers. In the Mediterranean gull, they are dark brown, with a narrow, uniform light border, in contrast to most herring gulls, in which these feathers are more variegated, with a jagged border. The tail of a young Mediterranean gull is more contrasting than that of the herring gull, there are fewer dark streaks on it and the apical stripe is darker. Young Mediterranean gulls in their nesting and first winter plumage differ from the gulls in proportions (especially in the beak), in the dark underside of the wing (it is lighter or whitish in the gull), and in the dark spot behind the eye (in the gull is usually absent). In the gull, the bright field on the inner primary flight feathers is usually slightly brighter. The incomplete dark stripe extending from above along the large cover feathers differs from the more developed stripe along all the large cover feathers of the gull. The appearance of new coverts during the first winter virtually excludes the herring gull and speaks in favor of the Mediterranean gull or the headed gull.

The Mediterranean gull differs from young coughs and khaleis in size and proportions, lighter head and bottom, a whiter tail with a black pre-apical stripe and the presence of a faint bright field on the inner primary primary feathers (it is absent in klus and khaleis). The size, color of the wings and tail also distinguish the Mediterranean gull from the juvenile sea gull. In other outfits it differs from the giggle in proportions. In individuals in the second winter plumage, the underside of the wing is darker than in the gull. The eyes begin to brighten earlier than the gull's. In comparison with the herring gull, it looks cleaner and "more mature" in all non-adult outfits.

Vote... A long cry, similar to the long cry of a cluck, is lower in timbre than that of a herring gull, and noticeably slower than that of a gull.

Distribution, status... Inhabits the rocky shores of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the Atlantic coast of Morocco, Spain, Portugal and France, the Canary Islands and the Azores. As a result of the expansion of the range towards the north, it began to nest in small numbers in Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Poland and other countries of Western and Central Europe. The nearest nesting places from Russia are in the Crimea. In late summer and autumn, this gull is abundant along the entire Russian coast of the Black Sea. Perhaps, she nests there, but there is no reliable data on nesting. It occurs regularly in the south of the Baltic Sea, especially in autumn. Known flights to Finland, Estonia and the Moscow region. The appearance of this species can also be expected in the Kaliningrad region.

Lifestyle... Some birds stay near the colonies all year round. Most of them arrive in February. For nesting it prefers to use rocky shores, sandy islands, river valleys, sometimes roofs of houses. The nest is a fossa with varying amounts of litter. Oviposition takes place in March or April. Clutch contains 1–3 olive-brown eggs with brown spots. Both parents incubate the clutch, but mostly females for 27–31 days. Chicks begin to fly at 35–40 days. It feeds on fish, molluscs, small mammals and birds, eggs and chicks, carrion. Willingly visits landfills.

Meetings are possible on the Black Sea coast of the region duuen gull, or Audouin's seagullsLarus audouinii, a Mediterranean species that flew into the Crimea and Georgia. She nests on islands in the Mediterranean. There are no reliable meetings on the territory of Russia yet. The size of a black cough (body length 48–52 cm, wingspan 115–148 cm), but more graceful, adult birds with a light mantle, a small white spot at the top of the outer primary feather, with a dark rainbow, red (with a black band and a light apex) beak and relatively long green-gray legs. Young birds are similar to young Mediterranean gulls, but smaller in size, there is no light field on blackish primary flight feathers, dark upper large wing coverts form a characteristic dark stripe, blackish tail.

Meetings are known in the Black Sea region armenian gullLarus (cachinnans) armenicus, nesting on the mountain lakes of the Caucasus and Turkey. On the territory of Russia, a stray bird was caught on 08/10/1921 near the city of Novorossiysk. The Armenian gull is similar to both the gull and the Mediterranean gull, but, as a rule, a little smaller than these birds. The wings are long. The eyes are dark. The beak is relatively short; many birds have a dark band all year round. This form is in many ways close to the Mediterranean gull.

Mediterranean gull (Larus michahellis)

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