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First record of laughing gull (Larus atricilla) in French Polynesia

January 1, 2004

On 6 March 2003 at 0800 h and again at 1300 h, while preparing for biological surveys in the Tuamotu and Gambier archipelagos of French Polynesia, we observed an immature gull flying in Rikitea harbor on Mangareva in the Gambier Islands. On both occasions we observed the gull for several minutes at distances as close as 20 m while it flew around the waterfront. It was a medium-sized gull, with long, pointed wings. The head was white with dark streaks and smudging on the nape. The bill was dark and of moderate length and thickness. The back and inner secondaries were dark grey, and the outer secondaries and primaries were a mottled dusky grey-brown. There was a complete, broad, dark band across the tip of the tail. These characters, particularly the long, pointed wings and broad tail band, led us to conclude that the bird was a laughing gull (Larus atricilla) in first winter plumage. Franklin’s gull (L. pipixcan) is similar in appearance and has been reported previously in several Pacific island groups (King 1967; Pratt et al. 1987), but can be distinguished from L. atricilla by its slightly smaller size, smaller bill, and narrower, incomplete tail band (Sibley 2000).

Publication Year 2004
Title First record of laughing gull (Larus atricilla) in French Polynesia
Authors Eric A. Vanderwerf, Ray J. Pierce, T. Lee Tibbitts, J.-M. Salducci, V.A. Gill, Graham Wragg
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Notornis
Index ID 70027492
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse