Galleries

THE SLENDER-BILLED GULL

A Slender-billed gull at Herrenchiemsee
A Slender-billed gull on a pillar at the Herrenchiemsee pier

Determining the species this one belonged to was kind of tricky (analysis paralysis? 😀). It could either have been the dark-headed gull or the slender-billed gull. You see, they resemble each other. Now the typical habitat and where and when this one was captured made it even harder to decide (analysis paralysis?).

THE CHALLENGE 
Both generally look: pale grey body, white head and breast and black tips to the primary wing feathers. Largely white head with black spot behind eyes, red bill and legs.
However, here’s where it gets even trickier. In one (Black-billed Gull), these features are all present only in winter and the other (Slender-billed Gull) breeds very locally around the Mediterranean and the north of the western Indian Ocean. In the latter, even where populations are migratory, they winter further south to north Africa and India. Only a “few birds have wandered to western Europe”. See where the problem was? This bird was captured in Europe (Herrenchiemsee, Germany) and in Summer. Meaning this has to be the Slender-billed Gull. And if that’s the case (it is right? Analysis paralysis), we have on our hands an occasional! We captured the “special case”!👌🏽

MEET THE: SLENDER-BILLED GULL

Scientific name: Chroicocephalus genei

A mid-sized gull with long, sloping forehead and a long, slightly drooping beak, for which it is named. The head, neck, rump and tail are white, while the back and the upper surfaces of the wings are grey, with a white leading edge to the wings and black tips to the outer primary feathers. The underparts are white, sometimes with a rosy tinge. The slender-billed gull has long, blackish-red legs, a dark red beak. Outside the breeding season, the slender-billed gull sometimes has a small, dusky spot on the side of the head.

THE DIFFERENCE
This species, as mentioned earlier can sometimes be confused with the black-headed gull (Larus ridibundus), but is distinguished by its more angular, sloping head, longer bill, white rather than black head during the breeding season, and slightly larger size.

IN HONOR OF
The scientific name of this bird commemorates the Italian naturalist Giuseppe Gené

Photo credits: Gideon A. Davis, Summer 2015.
Location: Herrenchiemsee, Germany

Cc. The Moon King, King Ludwig II of Bavaria (Big fan)

References

1. http://www.arkive.org/slender-billed-gull/larus-genei/

2. http://www.arkive.org/black-headed-gull/larus-ridibundus/

3. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slender-billed_gull

Advertisements

Sunbird

The Blue-throated Brown Sunbird (Nectarinia cyanolaema)
The Blue-throated Brown Sunbird (Nectarinia cyanolaema)

Sunbirds are common sight around the flowering plants in my house, nectaring flowering plants. On many such occasions, I manage to freeze the moment like I tried to do with this Blue-throated Brown Sunbird. Like the generic name suggests and the bill expresses, they’re in the nectar line of business. They may diversify occasionally, but nectar is the main course on the menu.

The Blue-throated Brown Sunbird
The Blue-throated Brown Sunbird

After the rain

A week ago after the downpour, I spotted a pretty large bird perched on the electric lines in front of our house. Beautiful Dark bird with white underparts, a long tail, yellow bill, dark feet and long talons. We tried hard, my Schatz and I to identify it by inputting the features into google search but came up with nothing. “Amateurs”. Still didn’t stop us from sharing some of our photos with you.

Large bird perching on an electric line
Large bird perching on an electric line
Yellow bill, white underparts, long tail, black feet and talons
Yellow bill, white underparts, long tail, black feet and talons
Clearer view of the unidentified bird
Clearer view of the unidentified bird
Ready for take-off. Identification anyone?
Ready for take-off. Identification anyone?

Bill looks curved like that of a predator bird but not quite. And when it flew, it moved quite close to the ground. I figured that’s in order to facilitate spotting of prey. Anyways, I’m sure my learned ornithology friends on here can help us out with identification.