Fauna and Flora Friday: 18 December 2020

Kelp GullLarus dominicanus

The kelp gull superficially resembles two gulls from further north in the Atlantic Ocean, the lesser black-backed gull, and the great black-backed gull, and is intermediate in size between these two species.

The adult kelp gull has black upperparts and wings. The head, underparts, tail, and the small “mirrors” at the wing tips are white. The bill is yellow with a red spot, and the legs are greenish-yellow (brighter and yellower when breeding, duller and greener when not breeding). Juveniles have dull legs, a black bill, a dark band in the tail, and an overall grey-brown plumage densely edged whitish, but they rapidly get a pale base to the bill and largely white head and underparts. They take three or four years to reach maturity

In South Africa, the kelp gull breeds in spring and early summer at Wolfgat Nature Reserve (Swartklip) and Rondevlei. They usually breed on off-shore islands and, nests are sometimes found on unfrequented cliffs. The nest is a scrape in the soil and lined with grass, feathers, or twigs. Two to three eggs varying in color from light green to turquoise or ochre with dark markings are laid.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.

Coreen

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