19 January 2024

Heuglin’s Gulls – Al Uqair

Whilst birding the Al Uqair area recently we went to an area of public beaches where I had previously seen some Large White-headed Gulls. My recent visits to the area had failed to turn up any but this time I saw seven birds on the ground together.  One was an adult Steppe Gulls and the remainder being Heuglin’s Gulls. Two of the Heuglin’s Gulls were much darker plumaged than the others in the group, however variation in upperpart coloration in heuglini is large and the late moult (p4-5 being renewed) support the identification, although a similar moult occurs in Baltic Gull which would be even darker, typically showing no contrast between upperparts and primary ground colour.