Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club         Southeastern Caribbean Bird Alert         Trinidad and Tobago Rare Bird Committee
Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)
A                                                                        B
C                                                                      D
Basic plumaged adult at North Point, Barbados, 6 December 2001. Photos © by Martin Frost. First record for Barbados and the West Indies. This bird was present from 6-10 December. Note the dark mantle, heavy yellow bill and pale legs. The bill (A-B) is too heavy for any race of the Lesser Black-backed Gull (L. fuscus) and the outermost primaries (C-D) lack the extensive white mirrors of the Great Black-backed Gull (L. marinus). The dark iris and apparent absence of a red orbital ring (A-B), even when viewed from as close as 10 m, is suggestive of the African race vetula, whose orbital ring during the non-breeding season is pale yellow and hardly noticeable. In recent decades the African race has expanded its range northward along the west coast of Africa and has even nested north of the equator since 1980. This bird was found only a few months after two appeared in Trinidad (click here). Further details are published in: Hayes, F. E., G. L. White, M. D. Frost, B. Sanasie, H. Kilpatrick, and E. B. Massiah. 2002. First records of Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus for Trinidad and Barbados. Cotinga 18:85-88.