Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists' Club         Southeastern Caribbean Bird Alert         Trinidad and Tobago Rare Bird Committee
Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)
A                                                   B                                                         C
D                                                                                                       E
G, with closeup of head below
F, with closeup of head below          
Adult at Waterloo, Trinidad, 10 July 2000 (A-G; TTRBC 2000-29). Photos © by Graham White. First for T&T. Found by Floyd Hayes and Bryan Sanasie on 7 July 2000, this elusive bird was relocated by Graham White at the same locality on 8 and 10 July, 23 September and 1 October 2000. Note the distinctly larger size, more massive bill and darker mantle than that of accompanying Lesser Black-backed Gulls (L. fuscus), including a first(?)-summer immature (C, D) and an adult (C, E-G). The combination of a pale iris, reddish orbital (closeups of F-G), worn flight feathers and bright yellow legs suggest it is an alternate plumaged adult of the nominate race on a northern hemisphere moult schedule. Since 1987, this southern hemisphere species has been recorded in widely scattered localities along the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana, where it has bred since 1990, south to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. There are also records from Indiana and Maryland.
H                                               I                                          J
Adult at San Fernando, Trinidad, 7 October 2000 (H), 10 November 2000 (I) and 10 February 2001 (J). Photos © by Floyd Hayes. Two different birds, one with white-tipped primaries and one without, were seen sporadically--but never simultaneously--at San Fernando from 18 September 2000 (found by Howard Kilpatrick; primaries white-tipped) until 10 February 2001 (note the absence of white primary tips in photo J, but an adult seen on 21, 22 and 27 January clearly had white-tipped primaries). We suspect the bird lacking white-tipped primaries was the same bird photographed at Waterloo, 25 km to the north (see photos A-G above). On 1 October 2000, a flying adult at Waterloo had large whitish wing patches on the upper wings, indicating it was moulting its coverts; presumably the same bird with large whitish wing patches was seen at San Fernando on 7 October 2000. During this period an adult showed up in Barbados as well (click here). Further details are available at: 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.  [abstract / resumen]