14 February 2024

Heuglin’s Gulls – Al Uqair

Whilst birding the Uqair area recently I went to an area of public beach where a few gulls were feeding on discarded food. There were many Slender-billed Gull but a few Large White-headed Gulls appeared to be mainly Heuglin’s Gulls. These birds appear in very fresh plumage as they breed later than other large gulls. Two of the Heuglin’s Gulls were much darker plumaged than the others in the group but were not Baltic Gull which would be even darker, typically showing no contrast between upperparts and primary ground colour. This subspecies almost always shows extensive neck streaking. This is not the commonest Gull in Saudi Arabia, with about 8% to 10% of all LWHG being this taxon.