[Western Gull]

Larus occidentalis

Status:  No accepted records.

CommentsOne  at Lake McConaughy, Keith Co 26 Apr 2021 was reported and well described by an experienced observer (Mlodinow, eBird.org). The details provided read as follows:

This was a bird nearing the end of its third cycle or in fourth cycle. The bill was moderately thick, but not as slim as typical of LBBG nor has hefty as many GBBG. The bill was yellow and not particularly bright. I could not see any dark markings, though a small spot could have been missed. There appeared to be a small orange gonydeal spot. The legs were pink. The head was white, without streaking, smudging, etc. Mantle was about as dark as that of an adult graellsii LBBG and not as dark as typical GBBG (or SBGU). When the bird was on the water, the back and wings looked entirely gray, but in flight, there was a brownish tinge to the gray of the wings, the exact distribution of which was not noted, but the outer 4 or so primaries were black and there were no white mirrors. There was a thick white trailing edge to the secondaries and onto inner primaries. Perched, the bird showed a small white scapular crescent and a broad white tertial crescent with a distinct white secondary “apron.” The tail was white with some smudgy gray distally on 1-2 rectrices on each side. The underwing coverts were white. The undersides of the outermost primaries were black (details of how extensive not noted), with smokey grayish underside of inner primaries and secondaries. In flight, the wings looked very much like the bird at https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/182804081.The bird was bulkier and larger than nearby HERG, but not as huge as some GBBG. The wings, when perched, were proportionately shorter than that of HERG/LBBG. GBBG was eliminated (not necessarily in order of significance) by presence secondary apron (which is usually absent in GBBG), mantle darkness (not as dark as GBBG), and size. Bill shape seemed more like that of WEGU as well. Additionally, GBBG with brown on their mantle typically already have white mirrors on their primaries, whereas this is not true of Western Gull. Bird was viewed for 20-30 minutes, perhaps more, mostly while it was perched. There was a modest wind and some heat waves, but prolonged viewing allowed for repeated clear views of the marks mentioned. There were multiple adult and young HERG present as well as 7 LBBG, one of which was an adult. The lighting was somewhat from behind me.

The report if accepted by NOURC would be the first for Nebraska.

There are several records of the primarily Pacific Coast species from Wyoming south to New Mexico, including one in Wyoming Apr 2020, and eight in eastern Colorado: three in Jun-Aug, four in Oct-Nov, and one in Mar.


NOURC: Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee

Literature Cited

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen.  2021.  Western Gull (Larus occidentalis). In Birds of Nebraska — Online. www.BirdsofNebraska.org

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 27 June 2021