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Curlew or Wimbrel? Kittiwakes? Common terns? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Curlew or Wimbrel? Kittiwakes? Little gull or Black head gull?

Location: NE Scotland, Lossie river estuary
Date: 29 July 2020

Picture 1: Whimbrel or Curlew? I spotted what might be a Whimbrel, due to the visible white supercilium above the eye (though curlew can sometimes have this too) and how the bill is curved down. Whimbrel is known to occur in the area. But I let this up for the experts to decide. Bird was alone and made no sound.

Picture 2 is from what I think are kittiwakes (they were also mixed with gulls and terns). They had white heads and yellow bills (therefore excluding little gulls), short dark legs (therefore excluding common gulls), and black eyes (therefore also excluding herring gulls), so I am almost confident about them.

Picture 3 and 4 show the same bird, which could be a black head gull. It had reddish legs and bill but a brownish or dark head. Mediterranean gulls have been spotted in the area, so that is another possibility. And a third option is for a little gull.

Picture 5 shows another bird. Perhaps a little gull? Some dark patches in the head (but a bit unlike a black head gull. It had reddish legs and bill. I do not have a clear idea about the ID for this bird.

Sorry for the low quality of the pictures. Done with my mobile and binoculars. I can upload some more if needed.


  • 1 Whimbrel (or Curlew).jpg
    1 Whimbrel (or Curlew).jpg
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  • 2 Kittiwake.jpg
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  • 3 Black head gull or Med gull.jpg
    3 Black head gull or Med gull.jpg
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  • 4 Black head gull or Med gull.jpg
    4 Black head gull or Med gull.jpg
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  • 5 Little gull (unsure).jpg
    5 Little gull (unsure).jpg
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Last edited:


Well-known member
Why is it a curlew for 1? I thought it was a whimbrel due to the uneven down curved bill and white supercillium.

For Picture 2: The quality of the image is not good and yes there are some herring gulls in there, but there were several black eyed seabirds seemingly with short legs which were not yellow (although this is not seen in the picture).
I updated below a couple of some of those birds. I must visit the area again and take a closer look. I know a good number of kittiwakes have been seen in the area.


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  • kitti2.jpg
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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
1 is a Curlew because the head pattern isn't strong enough for a Whimbrel. When you see a Whimbrel, it will stand out more than this.

I can't see anything other than Herring Gulls in picture 2 and the ones in post #3 are also Herring Gulls. Kittiwakes are much daintier looking. Something to note in picture 2 are the brown juvenile Herring Gulls. Kittiwakes are never brown. Those brown birds are the same size as the adults. Kittiwakes would be half that size.

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