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HERRING GULL Larus smithsonianus

The Herring Gull needs no introduction. So I won’t give it one. Instead, here are some close-ups of one that obligingly stayed still long enough, and at close enough range, to enable me to focus. The final two are possibly worth single- or double-clicking on to see the finer details. I prefer cooperative birds like this…

HERRING GULL IN FAMILIAR ‘BOAT POSE’Herring Gull 2Herring Gull 4Herring Gull 3Note the characteristic crossing of the black-and-white wing-tip feathers

HERRING GULL HEAD SHOTSHerring Gull 1Herring Gull 5All images ©RH; audio clip from the wonderful Xeno-canto archives

10 thoughts on “HERRING GULLS (Larus smithsonianus) CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF A PREFERRED KIND

  1. RH, FYI….This species may be ‘sub-specied’ quite a bit. I’ve always known it as L.argentatus. The Britts accept ‘smthsonianus’ as a valid species while we Gringos believe it is a sub species of ‘argentatus’. Wipe away the sea foam, and me thinks the taxonomists get pretty myopically engrossed in this stuff! I’ve seen these taxonomy debates go round the buoy many times in the past.


    • Hi Rick, thanks for calling in. I decided to skate over the whole taxonomic confusion: as you say, too many conflicting views. Oddly, having first put ‘smithsonianus I changed it to ‘argentatus’… then back again! When I’m back with my bird books I’m going to do a ‘head count’ and use the result. Anyway, whatever and wherever the variations are, it’s still simply a Herring Gull. RH


      • I got to know quite a bit about the sea fowl in the early 90’s when I was a supervisor on Hollywood Beach Patrol. I alerted the local newspapers about a considerable die-off of Gannets,Cormorants, Mergenzers, and especially Loons.(google The Miami Herald, Broward section front pg,Feb 9, 1993). It went on at least until I retired in 1995. As far as I know it’s still a mystery, and I don’t know if it’s still ongoing.



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