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Old Saturday 18th September 2010, 02:09   #1
Acrocephalus
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The gulls at Kniffiss Lagoon (Morocco) are not all Kelp Gulls as presumed before

Hi,

I don’t know if this went unnoticed here in BF or I missed it. I just noticed that this has been discussed in July in the SB forum and with inputs from people who freshly arrived from a birding trip from Morocco. It seems that the “big gulls” at Kniffiss Lagoon are not all Kelp Gulls as assumed by almost all birders who visited the site recently (the exception so far are Richard Bonser et al. 2010, see below), but some are rather Great Black-backed Gulls. http://www.surfbirds.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7147

This quote from the “Morocco and Western Sahara 3rd – 14th July 2010” trip report by Richard Bonser, Josh Jones, Oliver Metcalf and Dan Pointon (7th July 2010):
Quote:
After some observation and nifty photographic skills, we were able to walk away having confidently clinched a pair of Kelp Gulls amongst half a dozen Great Black-backed Gulls; leg colour, structure and restricted white primary mirrors were much more satisfactory than last year when we, along with everybody else, just presumed all were Kelp Gulls.
Josh Jones in post 25 in the above link wrote:
Quote:
Thanks guys - let's hope it spurs the considerable number of WP listers who have been to this site and seen large black-backed gulls (and ticked Cape Gull without really paying much attention) to revisit and see them 'properly'... I for one will hold my hands up and admit that I didn't pay much attention to the 10 birds I saw in April 2009, and am glad I've now consciously identified a couple of Cape Gulls!
I went there on a short visit just to see the site as the tide was very high that day, so these gulls are yet to be seen by me.

regards,
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Old Tuesday 8th March 2011, 23:19   #2
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Great Black-backed Gulls breeding at Khniffis Lagoon

Jönsson O. 2011. Great Black-backed Gulls breeding at Khniffis Lagoon, Morocco and the status of Cape Gull in the Western Palearctic. Birding World 24(2): 68-76.
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Old Tuesday 8th March 2011, 23:36   #3
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hey mohammed

any chance of a summary, dont get birding world

Cheers Ollie
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Old Tuesday 8th March 2011, 23:52   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metcow333 View Post
dont get birding world
The same for me, sorry I can't help, but I am quite sure that subscribers can summarise the article for us.
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Old Wednesday 9th March 2011, 07:03   #5
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Great Black-backed Gulls breeding at Khniffis Lagoon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acrocephalus View Post
Jönsson O. 2011. Great Black-backed Gulls breeding at Khniffis Lagoon, Morocco and the status of Cape Gull in the Western Palearctic. Birding World 24(2): 68-76.
Hi Mohamed.
Quote:
Summary
Since the discovery of four displaying Cape Gulls [Larus dominicanus vetula] in Khniffis Lagoon, Morocco in February 2008, the site has become a popular destination for Western Palearctic birders. The Cape Gulls were apparently residents and the number increased to a maximum of ten adults in April and May 2009, and breeding took place the same year. In May 2010, after analysing photographs of 'Cape Gulls' from the site in April 2010, it was discovered that all the photographed birds from that month were, in fact, Great Black-backed Gulls [L marinus]. An analysis of as many photographs as could be found from the area revealed that only two [ad 20 May 2009, 2 ads 7 Jul 2010], probably three [2 presumed ads 23 Apr 2009], of the records supported by pictures showed Cape Gulls. All the rest either showed Great Black-backed Gulls or were too poor in quality to show which species they portrayed, while one picture [29 Apr 2010] showed an adult apparent hybrid, probably a Yellow-legged [L michahellis] x Great Black-backed or Yellow-legged x Cape Gull. Up to six adult Great Black-backed Gulls were at Khniffis Lagoon during at least February to July 2010, with one pair apparently nesting, while a pair of Cape Gulls were also apparently on territory on the island in Khniffis Lagoon on at least 7th July. In January 2011, birders aware of the situation made thorough searches in the lagoon by boat and found ten Great Black-backed Gulls, but no Cape Gulls.
Richard

Last edited by Richard Klim : Wednesday 9th March 2011 at 09:39. Reason: typo
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Old Wednesday 9th March 2011, 08:56   #6
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cheers Richard, interesting stuff
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Old Wednesday 9th March 2011, 22:33   #7
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Thanks Richard, very interesting indeed.
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Old Friday 11th March 2011, 18:58   #8
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Great Black-backed Gulls breeding at Khniffis Lagoon

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acrocephalus View Post
Jönsson O. 2011. Great Black-backed Gulls breeding at Khniffis Lagoon, Morocco and the status of Cape Gull in the Western Palearctic. Birding World 24(2): 68-76.
Not the final word. ID-FRONTIERS today...

Norman van Swelm:
Quote:
according to Olof Jonsson in Birding World 24(2):68-76 just out. In 2009 a presumably full Kelp pair and a mixed pair Kelp Gull L.dominicanus x Atlantic Gull L.atlantis were found nesting after 5-10 Kelp Gulls were seen displaying on the Atlantic coast of southern Morocco.
In 2010 a pair was found breeding at the same spot but surprisingly turned out to be Great Black-backed Gulls L. marinus instead of Kelp Gulls!

The features pro GBBG in the pair are given as: all white tip to P10 and subterminal white spot on P9; the eye looked pale; a red orbital ring; the feet looked pink; tips of inner primaries with rather narrow white tips.

According to the author a true Kelp Gull should show: a mirror only on P10; evenly broad white trailing edge along the inner five primaries; allways dark eyes (quoting Jiquet et al); yellowish-orange orbital ring during breeding and pale yellow outside the breeding season; olive-coloured legs.

The pale colour of the eye is presented as a crucial element in deciding the birds are GBBG's. Apparantly it has escaped this author and others before him that some Kelp populations have pale eyes too! Have a look f.i.at the various plates in 'Gulls of the Americas' showing pictures of L.d.dominicanus taken in Chile and Argentina and L.d.austrinus from Georgia all with very pale eyes!

Plate 10 in the BW article shows a young bird, said to be a first winter GBBG (photo taken on 18th November). This birds shows very worn tertials and a pattern on the fresh mantle feathers that is quite unusual for birds of that age, compare with pictures here:
http://www.radioactiverobins.com/gul...rusmarinus.htm

all in all a very interesting article but I doubt the last word has been said on the Moroccan gulls. Future visitors to the breeding island are advised to measure the eggs and to collect feathers for DNA analyses.
Cheers, Norman
Lee Evans:
Quote:
Norman

I have just returned from Khenifiss Lagoon in southern Morocco where these large black-backed gulls breed and studied these birds again after initially believing all 10 were Cape (African Kelp) Gulls. Two individuals are fairly typical adult Cape Gulls but the other six adults I recorded were pale-eyed, pinkish or pinkish-grey-legged individuals resembling Great Black-backed Gull. They all appeared to be paired up and were displaying and were present at the island breeding colony shared with Atlantic Yellow-legged Gulls.

This is a unique situation and a very confusing one - Great Black-backed Gull generally breed to the north of Scandinavia in the extreme north but isolated populations such as this have also now been discovered in southern Spain. The birds at Khenifiss Lagoon are clearly resident and breeding and almost certainly intergrading - some individuals share mixed characters

All the very best

Lee Evans
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Old Saturday 19th March 2011, 23:32   #9
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Norman van Swelm:
Quote:
All in all a very interesting article but I doubt the last word has been said on the Moroccan gulls. Future visitors to the breeding island are advised to measure the eggs and to collect feathers for DNA analyses.
Since Norman mentioned measuring eggs, I wonder how easy is the separation of the eggs of these two gulls? Can anyone please check in the relevant literature.
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Old Sunday 20th March 2011, 08:37   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acrocephalus View Post
Norman van Swelm:


Since Norman mentioned measuring eggs, I wonder how easy is the separation of the eggs of these two gulls? Can anyone please check in the relevant literature.
I sincerely hope that visiting birders refrain from landing on the island and interfering with the colony, whatever the species.

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Old Sunday 20th March 2011, 13:41   #11
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Norman van Swelm? That's the same guy who claims to have seen an Eskimo Curlew in the Netherlands. Some of his claims are just ridicoulus, so why should he be right on Gulls?

André
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Old Monday 21st March 2011, 07:15   #12
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MRBC position

Bergier, Franchimont, Thévenot & CHM 2011. Les oiseaux rares au Maroc: Rapport de la Commission d'Homologation Marocaine: Numéro 16 (2010). Go-South Bull 8: 1-20.
http://www.go-south.org/08_Go_SouthB...gsb_8_1-20.pdf

Goéland dominicain – Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus AV, OB (0/0, 3/15, 1/8)
[ie, MRBC accepts 4 of 23 records to date]
  • Accepted (in this report):
    2009 (09/71) Tarfaya, Khnifiss, 6 adultes et 2 immatures, photo, 18 novembre (K. Olsen et al., Norwegian Ornthological Society)

  • Not accepted (in this report):
    (09/85) Tarfaya, Khnifiss, photos, 4 adultes le 11 décembre, 8 adultes le 14 décembre; (10/14) Tarfaya, Khnifiss, photos, 7 adultes et 1 immature le 21 janvier; 6 adultes le 4 février; 2+ le 13.03 et 6 le 16.03; (10/31) Souss, Oued Souss, adulte, photo, 12 avril.
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Old Thursday 24th March 2011, 17:06   #13
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MRBC follow up

A follow up of Jönsson’s (2011) article and re-interpretation of records analysed previously by the MRBC in its reports #15 and #16 (Bergier et al. 2010 and 2011). PDF
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Old Saturday 2nd April 2011, 07:24   #14
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Here's a gull from Khnifiss taken on the first week of March 2011. It's much larger than YLG's around.

Is it a hybrid or does it fill the criteria for Kelp Gull?

I have to go trough the other photos i took there. I might find some other shots of potential Kelps. At least 8 GBBG's also present there.

regards
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Old Saturday 2nd April 2011, 07:41   #15
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And some extra shots.

One bird compared to YLG.

The flying bird looks pretty good - only small white mirror, trailing edge pretty wide.

U
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Old Saturday 2nd April 2011, 07:45   #16
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To Steve!

The photographing birds doesn't need landing on the island (and defianately is irresponsible!). We passed the islet with a boat and birds (nor the gulls or the waders present) don't seem to be disturbed at all. Probably because local fishermen are going the same route several times a day and birds are used to passing boats.

Khnifiss case is another proof that GULLS DO SCREW YOU UP! We need field-usable DNA testers NOW!

cheers
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Old Wednesday 6th April 2011, 11:05   #17
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In case you have not seen these photos of an apparent hybrid gull at Khniffis Lagoon, they are well worth a look. Probably raising more questions than answers though

www.birdingfrontiers.com

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Old Wednesday 20th July 2011, 10:16   #18
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will gbb gulls rally breed with small gulls like kelp gulls?

the bird in the pic cant be a kelp look at its huge size also thought kelp gull bill was thicker and more stout like a western gull? not thin like a herring or lbb gull?

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