Vol. 21 No. 4-text

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Journal of the
Volume 21, No. 4 December 1988

ISSN 0311-8150

Registered by Australia Post Publication No. NBH0790NEW SOUTH WALES FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS CLUB
President P.E. Roberts
Vice -President A.K. Morris
Secretary F. Brown
Assistant Secretary N. Maxwell
Minutes Secretary M. Sach
Treasurer R. Morrow
Records Officer R. Cooper
Activities Officer A.O. Richards
Conservation Officer E. Karplus
Editor, Australian Birds T.R. Lindsey
Editor, Newsletter T. Karplus
Committee Members P. Davie
S. Fairbairn
J. Ironside
N. McKelvie
D. Siems
The object of the Club is to promote the study and conservation of Australian birds and the habitats
they occupy.
Annual subscription rates of the Club (due July each year) are:
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Manuscripts should be sent to the Editor at: Dept of Ornithology, Australian Museum, 6-8 College
Street, Sydney NSW 2000.MOS
Volume 21, No. 4 December 1988
A Sabine’s Gull Larus sabini was observed at sea on 17 June 1984, some 30 km south of Port
Macdonnell, South Australia. Fifteen observers, including the writer, D.W. Eades, K. Bartram and
R. Loyn, were aboard a small charter fishing vessel, John McKinnon’s ‘Shelley Anne K`. Visibility
was good, cloud cover was 4/8, wind force two or three, and the seas slight with a moderate swell
from the south-west. The occurrence has been assessed and accepted by the RAOU Records
Appraisal Committee (RAC Case 90, in litt. 18 August 1985).
The gull was first seen at 10:30 hr local time 32 km south of Port Macdonnell, shortly after we
crossed the edge of the continental shelf. Ocean depth was 252 metres. The gull came to within
two metres of the boat and took a piece of offal thrown to it then flew out of sight. At 12:00 hr it was
relocated about 35 km south of Port Macdonnell, this time over 422 metres of water. The gull again
took some offal from about three metres behind the boat before settling on the water a short distance
away. It was approached to about 15 metres three or four times before it flew off again. It was last
observed at 12:25 hours. Other birds present during the first or second sightings included Shy and
Black-browed Albatrosses Diomedea cauta and D. melanophrys, Cape Petrels Daption capense,
and Wilson’s Stormpetrels Oceanites oceanicus.86 Australian Birds 21(4)
The following details are compiled from field notes taken at the time by TR and DWE with additional
points noted from photographs (Plates 1-2). Terminology follows Grant (1982) with primaries (from
now on abbreviated to P) numbered one to ten from the outermost inwards.
Size: much smaller than Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae; body noticeably smaller than accompanying
Cape Petrels, but similar in wingspan.
Jizz: in flight looked small -headed and short -necked, body slender and uniform over its entire length
(i.e., lacking heavy -chested appearance). Tail forked, almost as deeply as that of a juvenile
Crested Tern Sterna bergii. Wings looked long and broad, their tips pointed, and held bent
forward to the carpal and swept backward to the tip. On the water, the bird floated low with
head held into the body. Wing points fairly long, three primary tips projecting beyond the tail.
Forehead steeper and crown more rounded than in Silver Gull.
Bill: slender, with a fine tip reminiscent of that of a Chlidonias tern; there was no obvious gonys angle.
Flight: rather tern -like; wingbeats constant and rather jerky, not deep; emphasis on the downstroke.
Head: white except for a dark- grey partial hood. Rear of crown mottled dark -grey and white. Ear
coverts and nape dark -grey. An ill-defined white eye -ring, with small dark -grey spot before
the eye. Anterior hind -neck and sides of neck same colour as nape, with an ill-defined border.
Narrow white collar over base of hind -neck between hood and mantle.
Body: mantle and back mid -grey, lighter than hood and similar in colour to the mantle and wing of
an adult Crested Tern. Rump and uppertail coverts white. Underparts white except for a rosy
flush on lower breast and belly, only visible at close range.
Wings: upperwing with striking triangular pattern of grey, white and black. Tertials mid -grey, each
with a broad white fringe, forming a conspicuous white crescent on the folded wing. Lesser,
median and greater coverts mid -grey, as mantle. Secondaries, and tips of greater coverts,
white. P7-10 and their respective greater primary coverts and perhaps inner three median
primary coverts white, forming a white triangle with its apex almost reaching the carpal joint.
P1 black with a white tongue on the inner web not quite reaching the tip; tip black. P2-5 similar
but each with a white tip, this very small on P2 but increasing in size on each primary inward.
P6 white except basal third of outer web black. Outer six greater primary coverts black; those
associated with P4-6 with small white tip. Seventh outer(greater primary covert white with
a black outer web. Alula, lesser primary coverts, and median primary coverts in line with outer
seven greater primary coverts black; with P1-6 forming a black triangle on the outer wing.
Underwing with a dull grey bar involving the greater underwing coverts; lesser and median
underwing coverts pale grey. P1-5 appeared grey below, perhaps due to black showing
through from above, P5 with a white inner web. All with a narrow black tip, forming a black
trailing edge similar to that on an Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea. Outer greater and medianDecember 1988 87
under primary coverts grey, the same shade as their associated primaries. Lesser under
primary coverts seemed the same colour as primaries. Alula black below. P6-10 and all
secondaries white below and appeared translucent when backlit.
Tail: white.
Soft -parts: eye black. Bill black, distal third rather bright golden -yellow, sharply and vertically cut-
off from base. Legs and feet dull greenish -yellow, duller than the bill tip.
All primaries showed fresh tips. P1 was slightly short, about seven -eighths the length of P2. The
tail feathers also looked fresh, the outermost about five -sixths the length of the next and that slightly
shorter than the third (counting inwards), indicating that the bird was nearing completion of its full
wing and tail moult.
We concluded that the bird was a Sabine’s Gull: the distinctive upperwing pattern and forked tail
eliminate all other gulls except the Swallow-tailed Gull L. furcatus of the Galapagos Islands, which
differs from Sabine’s Gull in being much larger (significantly larger than a Cape Petrel); in having
a longer bill with a slightly drooped tip; a partial grey breast band in adult plumage; pink legs; and
in having black on the two outer primaries only (Harrison, 1983).
The bird was in first summer plumage, a conclusion shown by five points:
(a) The pink flush on the breast, indicative of summer plumage (Cramp & Simmons, 1983).
(b) State of moult: Sabine’s Gull undergoes a complete pre -breeding moult from February to May
in the first and all subsequent years (Grant, 1982).
(c) The outer primary tips P2-4 (especially P2) of our bird (Plate 1-2) is less than that of an adult
summer bird with fresh primary tips illustrated by Grant (1982, photos 298 and 299).
(d) In Sabine’s Gull, the complete grey hood is attained only in the second summer, first summer
birds retaining an extensive amount of white in the hood (Grant, 1982).
(e) The distribution of yellow on the bill seems to match that of photos 293 and 294 of first summer
birds in Grant (loc. cit.) The relatively small white primary tips (point c) would seem to show the
bird was in its first year, a conclusion supported by the incomplete hood and the extent of yellow
on the bill (points d, e). The pink flush and advanced moult stage (points a, b) point to a bird
entering its first summer.88 Australian Birds 21(4)
This is the second record of Sabine’s Gull for Australia. The only previous occurrence concerned
a bird at Darwin, NT, in April 1982 (Shannon & McKean, 1983). Though the matter was not referred
to in the description, careful scrutiny of the photograph accompanying Shannon & McKean’s report
suggests that this bird also was moulting into its first summer plumage (traces of brown on upperwing
coverts and scapulars, dull yellowish legs and ill-defined yellow tip of the bill).
Sabine’s Gull breeds in the high Arctic and winters at sea in the southern hemisphere. Two
major wintering areas have been identified: in the Pacific off Peru between 50S and 190S; and off
the Atlantic coast of South Africa, dispersing to Natal in the Indian Ocean. Northward migration of
the Pacific population occurs in April, while in South Africa the main migration occurs in early May
and continues till mid -May (Cramp & Simmons, 1983). Birds in their first summer, however, apparently
spend the season on or near their wintering grounds (Grant, 1982).
Wandering individuals from the Atlantic population have been recorded several times in the
Indian Ocean: three birds at Marion Island on 10 February 1979 (Sinclair, 1981), single first year
birds at the Crozets on 17 January 1981 and 17 December 1981 (Stahl et al, 1984) and one first
summer bird on the coast of Somalia on 8 May 1981 (Ash, 1983). Pacific birds apparently have less
tendency to wander, as King (1969) did not record them in the Central Pacific, there are no records
for Hawaii (American Ornithologists Union, 1983) and Sabine’s Gull is known only as a straggler
off Japan (Ornith. Soc. Japan, 1974). Andrew (1985) recorded a bird off Sumatra on 22 October 1984.
This date would seem to exclude the possibility that the bird was an adult migrant from the Atlantic
and if, as claimed, it was an adult in winter plumage, it would seem more likely that it came from
the Pacific. Unfortunately, Andrew’s description is not sufficiently detailed to preclude it being an
over -wintering first year bird from the Atlantic.
The frequent occurrence of vagrants in the Indian Ocean, contrasting with their lack in the Pacific
Ocean, suggests that Sabine’s Gulls reaching Australia have originated from the Atlantic population.
Added support for this view is provided by the Arctic Tern, which occasionally occurs in Australia
during the southern winter (pers. obs.). Like the Sabine’s Gull, this species breeds in the northern
hemisphere and migrates to the south Atlantic, and three specimens banded in western Europe
have reached Australia (Slater, 1970).
David W. Eades supplied photographs of the bird, and both he and Ms Jenny Zimmerman made
valuable comments on an earlier draft of this paper.December 1988 89
American Ornithologist Union. 1983. Checklist of North American birds, 6th edition. AOU, Lawrence, Kansas
Andrew, P. 1985. A Sabine’s Gull Larus sabini off the coast of Sumatra. Kukila 2:9
Ash, J. S. 1983. Over fifty additions to the Somalia list. Scopus 7:54-79
Grant, P. J. 1982. Gulls: a guide to identification. T. & A.D. Poyser Ltd: Calton, Staffordshire, England
Harrison, P. 1983. Seabirds, an identification guide. Croom Helm, London
King, W. B. 1967. Seabirds of the tropical Pacific Ocean. Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
McBride, A. & T. Reid. 1985. Sabine’s Gull, a new bird for New South Wales. Aust. Birds 21:89-91
Ornithological Society of Japan. 1979. Checklist of Japanese birds, 5th edition. Gakken Co. Ltd, Tokyo
Shannon, G. & J. L. McKean 1983. First record of Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini from Australia. Aust. Bird Watcher
Sinclair, J. C. 1981. Eight previously unreported seabirds at Marion Island, Indian Ocean. Ardea 69:217-218
Slater, P. 1970. A field guide to Australian birds, Volume 1, Non -Passerines. Rigby Ltd, Adelaide
Stahl, J. H., H. Weimerskirch & V. Ridoux. 1984. Observations recentes d’oiseaux marms et visiteurs dans bs
Iles Crozet, sud-ouest de L’Ocean Indian. Le Gerfaut 74:39-46
Tim Reid, clo Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, 21 Gladstone Street, Moonee Ponds Vic 3039
On 23 March 1985 a Sabine’s Gull Larus sabini joined a mob of seabirds feeding on offal and fat
thrown from the stern of our vessel, the Sandra K, some 25 km due east of Wollongong, New South
Wales. The boat, a 14 -metre fishing trawler, was idling over about 80 fathoms of water at the time.
Other seabirds present included Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaegers Stercorarius pomarinus and
S. longicaudus, Wedge-tailed and Flesh -footed Shearwaters Puffinus pacificus and P. carneipes,
and Silver Gulls Larus novaehollandiae. The Sabine’s Gull was under observation for about 10
minutes, darting about as it repeatedly circled the boat, before flying off in a north-easterly direction.
It fed by dropping to the surface and picking at offal before flying off; on several occasions it was
harassed by Long-tailed Jaegers.
Flight, size & jizz: smaller than nearby Silver Gulls by about 20-25 per cent. Flight very fast, erratic,
and extremely agile. Wingbeats quick, deep and purposeful, providing an almost tern -like
quality to the flight.
Body plumage: head and neck mainly white, faintly clouded grey on crown and neck; very dark brown
or blackish half -collar on the upper hind neck with a smaller collar of the same intensity on
the rear crown, the two areas being partly separated by a small amount of white. The edge90 Australian Birds 21(4)
of this crown collar halted abruptly just behind the ear coverts, becoming somewhat darker
in intensity at this point, creating the impression of a black spot on the ear coverts behind the
eye. Underparts and rump white.
Wings: outer five primaries (hereafter abbreviated to P, numbered from innermost outward) blackish
brown on the outer web and shaft with a pale whitish area visible on the inner web when the
wing was fully spread. No apical spots. All of these primaries (P6-10) heavily abraded, the
shaft of each protruding about 5-15 mm at the tip. P5 also badly worn, white except for small
area of black at centre. P4 white and similarly worn. P3 white, new, half grown; P2 and P1
missing. Secondaries white, and also heavily abraded, though in varying degrees. Tertials
and scapulars mid -grey and fresh. Scattered brownish feathers on mantle and lower back.
Greater and lesser secondary coverts together with marginal wing coverts all medium grey –
brown. Median secondary coverts seemed to be moulted, revealing a white bar showing
through from the underwing, this interrupted by about three or four new median coverts, mid –
grey in colour. Underwing mainly white, faintly tinged pale grey on P5-10 as a result of the
blackish or brown upperwing; marginal coverts along the leading edge also faintly tinged grey.
Greater secondary underwing coverts pale brownish -grey, narrowly tipped white and forming
an obscure dusky band across inner wing.
Tail: slightly forked, white; outer two rectrices on the right and the third inner on the left side each
with a black tip extending to the end of the feather, about 8-10 mm deep.
Bare parts: Legs and feet a pale flesh colour. Bill black with a perceptibly paler tip, this occupying
the distal quarter to one half of the bill. Eye black.
The colours of the upperwing, despite heavy moult, formed a striking pattern of three triangles of
black, grey and white (Plate 3-4); this feature, in combination with the bird’s small size, forked tail
and obscure grey bar across the underwing, is diagnostic of Sabine’s Gull (Grant 1982; Harrison
1983; Reid 1985). The brown coverts and marginals, wholly dark bill and black tips to some tail
feathers confirm that the bird was a juvenile at the end of its first winter. Heavily abraded and missing
feathers, emerging P3, and new plumage on the upperwing indicate that the bird had started its
moult into first summer plumage. The timing and extent of this moult is consistent with Sabine’s
Gull, which is exceptional among gulls in undergoing a complete moult before rather than
immediately after the breeding season (Grant, loc. cit.)
This is the third Australian record of Sabine’s Gull, the first being recorded at Darwin, NT, during
April 1982 (Shannon & McKean, 1983) while a second bird was seen off Port MacDonnell, SouthDecember 1988 91
Australia in June 1984 (Reid, 1988). It is also the first record of the species in New South Wales
(Morris, McGill & Holmes, 1981) and indeed in eastern Australia. The record has been assessed
and accepted by the RAOU Records Appraisal Committee (RAC Case 76, in litt. 18 August 1985)
and duplicates of photographs of the bird have been deposited in the National Photographic Index
of Australian Wildlife (registration numbers XT 6017-6021).
Grant, P.J. 1982. Gulls: a guide to identification. T. & A.D. Poyser, Calton, UK
Harrison, P. 1983. Seabirds: an identification guide. Croom Helm Ltd, Beckenham, UK
Morris, A.K.; A.R. McGill & G. Holmes. 1981. A handlist of birds in New South Wales. NSWFOC, Sydney
Reid, T. 1988. A Sabine’s Gull off Port McDonnell, South Australia. Aust. Birds 21:85-89
Shannon, G. & J.L. McKean. 1983. First record of Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini from Australia. Aust. Bird Watcher
10: 82-83
Alan McBride, 3/108 Cabramatta Road, Mosman NSW 2088
Tim Reid, 469 Victoria Street, West Melbourne Vic 3003
At about 09:00 hrs on 30 June 1985 Australia’s fourth Sabine’s Gull Larus sabini was observed during
a pelagic trip out from Wollongong, NSW, just three months after an earlier sighting of the
species in the same area, when a bird was seen and photographed on 23 March 1985 (McBride
& Reid, 1988). Our bird was seen by a number of observers including the writer on a 14 -metre
fishing trawler, the Sandra K, cruising some 26 nautical miles east of Wollongong.
At the time, the only birds in regular attendance were Silver Gulls L. novaehollandiae. The
Sabine’s Gull was first sighted approaching the vessel from the south. Its small size, dark cap
and distinctly tern -like flight initially brought to mind a White -fronted Tern Sterna striata, of
which several had been seen earlier. However, binoculars revealed the unmistakable
upperwing pattern of an adult Sabine’s Gull. As it came closer attempts were made to
photograph it, but after a brief dive towards the water it flew well back along the wake, where
it was difficult to locate amongst the Silver Gulls. After a few minutes it returned to the boat,
and made a rapid pass before disappearing quickly to the south. It was not seen again.92 Australian Birds 21(4)
Because of the brevity of the sighting and the importance attached to obtaining corroborative
photographs, the following description is based mainly on an analysis of the resulting black –
and -white prints, the best of which are reproduced here (Plates 5-6).
Mantle, scapulars, rump and upper secondary coverts, except for greater coverts and perhaps some
outer median coverts, mid -grey, appearing uniform and fresh. Upper and under tail -coverts,
rectrices and entire underbody pure white. Head white except for narrow black band around
back of lower nape, a black spot on ear -coverts, and some indistinct dark markings on rest
of nape linking the two ear -covert patches, but leaving entire crown, forehead and all around
the eye white. Tertials, secondaries, greater secondary coverts, outer portions of some outer
median secondary coverts and inner four primaries and their greater and inner median coverts,
white. P6 -P10 (outer five primaries) with black outer webs and white inner webs crossed by
narrow black subterminal bands, leaving narrow white apical spots; their coverts black along
with the alula. Black subterminal bands on inner webs visible from below as a narrow black
band just inside the trailing edge of the outer primaries, producing the only relief from an
otherwise totally white underwing. The bill appeared black but a pale tip was seen by one
observer (D. Fisher).
The plumage appeared to be fresh and clean with no signs of wear or fading. P10 (outermost visible
primary) in each wing was about five -sixths of its full length and the innermost rectrix on the
right hand side seems to have been missing, but these were the only signs of active moult.
The identification of this bird as a Sabine’s Gull is straightforward: the distinctive, tricoloured
upperwing pattern (clearly shown in the photographs) is diagnostic except for a superficial
resemblance to that of the very much larger and equally distinctive Swallow-tailed Gull Larus furcatus
of the Galapagos Islands.
Although species identification is a simple matter, it seems impossible to age the bird decisively.
Its plumage is consistent with either first alternate (=first summer) or definitive basic ( =adult winter)
plumages; references consulted reveal no morphological characters that reliably discriminate
between these possibilities. The stage of the moult cycle (plumage fresh, primary moult not quite
complete in late June) is late for either possibility according to the sources listed below. It might
nevertheless be reasonable for a first year bird but would be obviously abnormal for an adult. A bird
so far out of its normal range, however, should occasion no surprise if its moult timing is abnormal
and it may even manifest a completely reversed moult cycle, as occasionally occurs in waders
(pers. obs.).December 1988 93
The possibility that the bird we saw was the same individual seen in March cannot be discounted,
despite the gap of three months between the two sightings. The bird in the earlier sighting was in
heavy moult (McBride & Reid, loc. cit.), whilst our bird was in fresh plumage. Careful comparison
of the two descriptions and series of photographs fails to reveal any morphological feature that might
exclude this possibility, allowing for the normal sequence of moult. Sabine’s Gull has two known
major wintering areas: in the South Atlantic and in the south-eastern Pacific off Peru (but see Reid
(1988) for more detailed discussion), so any bird in Australian waters is far out of its normal range.
It seems at least plausible that a single lost individual might pause in its wanderings for weeks or
even months in order to complete a moult, perhaps more credible than that two separate individuals
were involved in these observations.
I thank Alan McBride, David Eades and Tim Reid for allowing me access to their notes and
photographs relating to earlier records of Sabine’s Gull in Australia.
Cramp, Stanley & K.E.L. Simmons, (eds.) 1983. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and North
Africa: The birds of the Western Palearctic. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Dwight, J. 1925. The gulls (Laridae) of the world: their plumages, moults, variations relationships and distribution.
Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 52: 63-408
Grant, P. 1982. Gulls -a guide to identification. T. & A.D. Poyser Ltd: Staffordshire, England
Harrison, P. 1983. Seabirds – an identification guide. Groom Helm: London
McBride, A. & T. Reid. 1988. Sabine’s Gull, a new bird for New South Wales. Aust. Birds 21:85-89
Reid, T. 1988. A Sabine’s Gull in South Australia. Aust. Birds 21: 85-89
Chris Corben, Queensland Department of Forestry, 80 Meiers Rd, lndooroopilly Qld 4068
On 7 March 1976 at Moore Point, Geraldton, Western Australia, observed a Franklin’s Gull Larus
pipixcan. When first noticed, the gull was about 100 m distant, loafing on piled -up seaweed on the
beach in company with three Silver Gulls L. novaehollandiae. My attention was drawn to it because
it appeared exceptionally dark in plumage. Being alone, decided that an attempt to photograph
the bird was of higher priority than a detailed plumage description and took a number of colour
photographs of the gull, both at rest and in flight (Plate 7). Copies of several of these have been
deposited at the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife (registration numbers
XT4932-XT4935). The record has been assessed and accepted by the RAOU Records Appraisal
Committee (RAC Case 8, T.R. Lindsey, in litt.)94 Australian Birds 21(4)
The following is compiled from details observed at the time and gleaned subsequently from the
photographs. The head was smaller and more rounded than that of a Silver Gull, especially on the
hind crown. The bird had a partial grey -black hood (not as black as the primaries), which was paler
towards the bill so that the area in front of the eye had a grizzled effect. A conspicuous white ring
surrounded the eye, interrupted posteriorly by a small black gap, anteriorly by a larger region of
black. The throat was white with an incomplete grey -black gorget below; mantle and upperwing
coverts were uniform dark grey. In flight the wing showed a conspicuous white trailing edge and
the black of the outer primaries was separated from the grey inner wing by a narrow white band;
the longest primary of each wing was tipped white. The tail was rather worn, in moult, and appeared
all white. The underparts were white. The bill was proportionately shorter and less robust than that
of a Silver Gull, blackish but with the upper mandible tipped dusky red. The iris was dark and legs
At one point the bird joined a flock of Silver Gulls in flight and, compared to them, appeared
very much darker above, a little smaller in bulk and shorter tailed. The white trailing edge of the wing
was striking but the whitish band separating the black outer primaries from the grey inner wing was
not very obvious although it did show up in one of the photographs.
The bird several times employed a curious swaying movement of the head, which I interpreted
as part of its foraging strategy as it fed on insects swarming in the seaweed. Silver Gulls were
aggressive toward it and on one occasion at rest it received a vicious peck on the head.
It would appear that the bird was a subadult in non -breeding plumage; study of the photographs
reveals clear signs of moult, at least in the head, tail and secondaries. Identification was based on
its small size, dark grey mantle and wings, the blackish partial hood and, above all, the outer wing
pattern, which is diagnostic of this species. One further feature, also diagnostic of Franklin’s Gull

  • pale grey central tail feathers – was not seen, nor is this feature detectable in any of the
    photographs, although my subsequent experience with the species in Peru confirms the difficulty
    of seeing this character in the field. This appears to be the third report of Franklin’s Gull in Australia,
    although there have been a number of subsequent records (reviewed briefly by Eades & Debus,
  1. Aust. Birds 17:27-30).
    Gerry Nicholls, 19 Wakefield Court, Prince Street, Durban 4001 South AfricaPlate 1-2. Sabine’s Gull at sea off Port Macdonnell, SA, 17 June 1984, dorsal (top) and ventral
    (bottom) aspect (photos: D.W. Eades).Plate 3-4. Sabine’s Gull at sea off Wollongong, NSW, 23 March 1985, dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom)
    aspect (photos: A. McBride).Plate 5-6. Sabine’s Gull at sea off Wollongong, NSW, 30 June 1985, dorsal (top) and ventral (bottom)
    aspect (photos: C.J. Corben).Plate 7. Franklin’s Gull, Geraldton, WA, 7 March 1976 (photo: G. Nicholls).Plate 8. Black- tailed Gull at roost with Silver Gulls and Crested Terns, Ricketts Point, Vic., 7
    September 1978 (photo: C.J. Corben).Plate 9. Black -tailed Gull, Ricketts Point, Vic., 7 September 1978 (photo: C.J. Corben).Plate 10-11. Black -tailed Gull in flight, Rickett’s Point, Vic., 7 September 1978 (photos: D.W. Eades
    (top) and C.J. Corben (bottom)).Plate 12-13. Franklin’s Gull in flight (top) and on beach with Silver Gull (bottom), Scarborough, Old,
    10 January 1981 (photos: C.J. Corben).December 1988 95
    D.W. EADES and C.J. CORBEN
    A Black -tailed Gull Larus crassirostris was observed at three localities within Port Phillip Bay,
    Victoria during 1978. The bird first appeared at Point Lonsdale (38°17’S, 144°36’E) on 11 March
    1978 and was last seen there on 6 April 1978. It reappeared at Mentone beach on 5 September then
    moved to nearby Ricketts Point (38000’S 145°01’E) for the period 6-14 September 1978. It was
    observed in weather conditions ranging from bright sunlight to light rain, at distances sometimes
    as little as six metres, and for periods sometimes exceeding two hours. It was seen by an estimated
    40 observers including, in addition to the writers, M.J. Carter, K. Bartram, A. Smyth and F.T.H. Smith.
    At the time, none of these observers had field experience with the Black -tailed Gull although several
    were familiar with a number of other gulls of the northern hemisphere. Many photographs were taken,
    both in monochrome and in colour, several of which are reproduced here (Plates 8-11). The record
    has been assessed and accepted by the RAOU Records Appraisal Committee (RAC Case 55).
    (based on field notes and photographs taken on various dates in March, April and September;
    primaries abbreviated to P (numbered from innermost outward), secondaries to S and rectrices to R):
    Size and jizz: the bird appeared one-third larger in overall bulk than a Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae
    but much smaller than Pacific Gull L. pacificus or Kelp Gull L. dominicanus (individuals of all
    three species were often available nearby for immediate comparison). It had a moderately
    sloping forehead profile recalling the jizz of larger gull species. By comparison with a Silver
    Gull, it appeared more heavy -bodied in front and more attenuated in the rear owing to its bulkier
    body and its long wing projection; in flight it looked considerably larger, with broader and longer
    wings that often appeared rounded at tips; the tail was more full and relatively shorter.
    Plumage (March -April): head white with extensive areas of mid -brown, strongest on nape. Frons
    white grading to a mid -brown wash on fore -crown. Brown wash continuing onto mid -crown,
    becoming more streaked on rear crown and forming a strong, broad dark -brown collar on nape.
    Brown of ear coverts similar to crown, extending well below eye level. A diffuse brown spot
    in front of eye, slightly darker than ear coverts. Nape collar extending well below level of ear
    coverts to fuse with brownish wash on white underparts. Thin separate white eye crescents
    above and below eyes, made obvious against the surrounding brown of head. Upper crescent
    situated directly over the eye, the lower one set further back and sloping up to the rear,
    becoming thicker posteriorly. Chin white, grading to a pale brown wash on throat, mid -breast
    and anterior flanks. Brown wash extending down flanks to a point in front of tail base (when
    viewed perched). Belly and under -tail coverts white. Neck below nape white, forming clearcut
    separation between brown collar and grey of mantle.96 Australian Birds 21(4)
    Mantle and back mid -grey, much darker than Silver Gull, close to adult plumaged Crested Tern Sterna
    bergii but fractionally darker. Uniformity of mantle relieved by a few worn brownish scapulars.
    Longest rear scapular with worn whitish tip. Tertials grey as mantle, tipped broadly with white
    forming a conspicuous crescent at base of folded primaries. Rump and upper -tail coverts pure
    Upperwing generally mid -grey with moderately broad white trailing edge, primaries grading from
    blackish on outermost to mid -grey anteriorly. Upperwing coverts mid -grey as mantle, some
    median and greater coverts with brownish tone as per scapulars. Marginal coverts white,
    forming thin leading edge visible only from frontal aspect. White trailing edge formed by
    moderately broad white tips to all secondaries tapering outwards to tip of P6. Trailing edge
    widest at secondary S5, about half way along wing’s trailing edge, and occupying
    approximately one -fifth of wing breadth.
    P1 -P3 grey with small white apical spots. P4 grey with small dusky -blackish subterminal area abutting
    small white apical spot. P5 dusky -blackish with subterminal grey tongue on inner web for three-
    quarters of length, a very small white apical spot present. P6 -P10 dusky -blackish, P6 with faint
    white apical spot. Blackish colour of primaries paler, not so black or clearcut against the grey
    as that on upperwing of Silver Gull. Dusky marks present on three proximal secondaries of
    left wing, these contrasting noticeably with grey upperwing coverts and white trailing edge.
    Outer 4-5 secondaries with visible bases grey like upperwing coverts, bases of remaining
    secondaries hidden by greater coverts.
    All underwing coverts white except for faintly greyish greater primary coverts, the outermost of these
    blackish. Below coverts, exposed bases of secondaries pale grey forming narrow grey band
    tapering inwards to wing base. White tips of secondaries translucent when backlit. Underside
    of primaries greyish on innermost, becoming dusky on outers creating contrasting dark tip
    to underwing. Dusky area of outer primaries similar in extent to that on upper primaries, again
    not so black or clearcut as black on underwing tip of Silver Gull.
    Tail square, white at base with broad subterminal black band occupying most of area visible beyond
    uppertail coverts, tipped narrowly white. Breadth of band at least twice that of adult plumaged
    Pacific Gull. Tail band formed by black bands across both webs of R1 -R5. Band broadest on
    R1 -R2 where extending basally beyond tips of white central uppertail coverts. Band width
    becoming progressively narrower on inner webs of R3- R5. Resultant increase in white areas
    visible beyond uppertail coverts combined with remaining areas of black on outer webs to
    create vertical black and white striped pattern when tail spread. Black on inner web narrowest
    on R6, outer web with narrow dark smudged line extending basally for most of visible length,
    extreme outer edge white. Twelve rectrices present; however, R3 on left hand side slightly
    shorter than the rest and with broader white tip suggesting nearly complete replacement of
    lost feather.December 1988 97
    Soft parts: bill noticeably larger and bulkier than bill of Silver Gull, fairly slender for a medium sized
    gull and of fairly constant depth throughout length, with faint decurve along basal lower
    mandible to gonys, the latter rather weak and not lending the bill the ‘blob -ended’ appearance
    characteristic of a Kelp Gull. Much more slender and delicate than the bulky bills of Pacific
    or Kelp Gulls. Basal two-thirds fleshy with slight greenish tinge; gonys to tip mainly black, with
    short triangular extension of black basally along cutting edges to a point just below mid nostril.
    Culmen ridge near tip pale yellowish, becoming dull reddish at extreme tip.
    Legs longer than those of a Silver Gull (and bird standing noticeably taller than that species), but
    shorter legged and not so tall as a Pacific Gull. Tarsi rather slender, fleshy with greenish tinge,
    toes similar. Webs pinkish, the feet fully webbed. Claws black. Irides greyish -white and
    noticeably pale when bird viewed at close or medium range. Pupils black. Eye ring looked
    dark, exact colour not determined.
    Plumage (September): since last observed in April, the bird had undergone a partial moult from
    second winter to second summer plumage (see below for ageing).
    Forehead and crown whiter, the brown tipped feathers having been moulted or worn to reveal their
    pale bases. Brown nape collar and spot in front of eye still apparent but overall the head looked
    paler, less brown. Mantle, back and some inner median and lesser upperwing coverts all
    replaced by fresh mid -grey, these areas clearer and contrasting with the retained brownish
    and grey medians, greaters and tertials of second winter plumage. All scapulars new fresh
    grey, the rearmost of these fringed narrowly with white to form a small crescent above the
    tertials. Prominent tertial crescent formed by broad white tips to new grey outer tertials, the
    inner ones worn brownish in contrast and with their white tips reduced and frayed. Entire
    underparts clean white. Primaries moderately worn, white apical spots present on P1 -P4 only.
    P5 -P10 showing fine brownish tips indicating wear. White tips to tail feathers somewhat
    reduced through wear compared with earlier, R3 on left side now fully grown and still showing
    broader white tip, causing distinct notch in outline.
    Soft parts: bill similar to March -April but with red at tip brighter and slightly more extensive. Legs
    and feet much as earlier, perhaps a fraction brighter. No obvious change in iris colour.
    Flight: similar to Silver Gull but wing beats more leisurely. Did not appear as laboured in flight as
    does Pacific Gull.
    From details in Dwight (1925) the bird is aged as being in second winter plumage, later beginning
    a partial body moult to second summer plumage. First year plumage is eliminated because this is
    largely brown, including the tail and remiges. Our bird showed several features that are characteristic
    of second year birds:98 Australian Birds 21(4)
    (a) Mainly clear grey mantle in combination with extensive brown wash to underparts, brownish tones
    also on some upperwing coverts.
    (b) Extensive brown wash to headparts, strongest on nape where forming solid dark collar.
    (c) Black tail band extending across all rectrices including inner web of R6, slight dusky smudge
    next to shaft on outer webs of R3 -R5 beyond level of that on inner webs, thus forming vertical
    black and white striped pattern. Additionally, overall extent of band considerable, occupying most
    of tail area visible beyond upper tail coverts. White tips to rectrices relatively narrow also, R3
    on left side showing broader third winter type ( = adult winter type) tip in comparison.
    (d) Bill fleshy with mainly black tip showing only small amounts of red and yellowish coloration.
    (e) Apical spots on outer primaries only (to P6).
    (f) Brownish marks present on some proximal secondaries of left wing.
    Adult birds (third winter plumage onwards) differ in the above characters by having:
    (a) Clear grey mantle and upperwing coverts, pure white underparts, these areas lacking any brown.
    (b) Brown of head parts replaced by greyish mottling or streaking, this being less extensive and
    lacking such a solid dark nape collar.
    (c) Tail band generally narrower, just abutting tips of coverts in centre, leaving more visible white
    at sides basally. White tips to each rectrix broader, further accentuating the narrower appearance
    of the band. Also, adult plumaged birds lack dusky smudged line to outer web of R6 in
    combination with black band on inner web. Black stripes formed by basal extensions of bands
    on outer webs of R3 -R5 much narrower and less extensive when present.
    (d) Bill more yellowish basally, red at tip brighter and more extensive.
    (e) Apical spots present on outer primaries, inwards to P7, sometimes P8.
    (f) Outer webs of all secondaries grey basally, never showing brownish marks.
    The combination of medium size; mid -grey dorsum; white tail with broad, clearcut black subterminal
    band; pale irides; conspicuous upperwing pattern; and whitish bill eliminates all gull species except
    Black -tailed Gull L. crassirostris. The Ring -billed Gull L. delawarensis in first winter and subsequent
    plumages has a pale grey mantle, the tail band is narrower and less clearcut, the nape never shows
    solid brown collar, black of primaries always more clearcut. Common Gull L. canus has the mantle
    paler grey, tail band narrower, bill much shorter, head profile well rounded, giving more gentle
    expression, irides dark at all ages. Sooty Gull L. hemprichii and White -eyed Gull L. leucopthalmus
    both have blackish underwings at all ages, the latter species also possessing dark irides at all ages.
    Laughing Gull L. atricilla has dark irides at all ages, is smaller and more slender, and the bill is either
    black or reddish. The Californian Gull L. califomicus averages larger, has brown irides at all ages,
    lacks clearcut tail band, has clear cut tongues of dull white or grey on at least P1 -P8 in all plumages
    except first year when all primaries are dull black (see Dwight, 1925; Grant 1983).
    The two species that most closely resemble the Black -tailed Gull are Belcher’s Gull L. belcheri
    and Olrog’s Gull L. (belcheri) atlanficus. Belcher’s Gull differs in all plumages except the juvenalDecember 1988 99
    by its brownish -black mantle, this being much darker than the mid -grey of L. crassirostris and by
    having blackish -brown irides. Juveniles and first year birds are extensively brown, have far less white
    in the tail and lack a broad white trailing edge on the wing. The second year plumage shows a much
    broader tail band but lacks the black vertical stripes on the outer rectrices shown by L. crassirostris.
    Adults (third winter onwards) have a tail pattern similar to that of L. crassirostris but also lack the
    vertical black striping. Birds in winter plumage show a solid brown hood and have a grey flush on
    the nape and neck, while both winter and summer birds have grey, not white underwing coverts (see
    Dwight, 1925; Olrog 1967; Harrison 1983 for further details). Olrog’s Gull is much larger than Black –
    tailed Gull (from data in Devillers, 1977 and Dwight, 1925). Juveniles have extensively dark tails
    without a clear white tip and a mottled mantle and upperwing, while subsequent plumages all show
    a slaty black mantle that is much darker than that of L. crassirostris (see fig. 1 in Escalante, 1966
    and photographs of adult birds in Devillers, 1977). The irides are blackish -brown in adult birds. A
    further major distinction is the much bulkier bill of L. atlanticus.
    The Sea of Japan constitutes the centre of distribution of the Black -tailed Gull, the species breeding
    in adjacent parts of Siberia, China, Korea and Japan. It is largely sedentary, but regularly disperses
    north in winter to Sakhalin (vagrant to the Aleutians) and south to Hong Kong (Harrison 1983). In
    Hong Kong it is regular in small numbers, especially during March; most are first year birds (D.S.
    Melville, pers. comm.). It is apparently extremely rare further south: although it is widespread in
    the East China Sea in winter, there appear to be no records in the South China Sea away from the
    coast, from the Phillipines or from Malaysia.
    Another Black -tailed Gull has since been recorded in Australia, a bird moulting from first summer
    to second winter plumage, at Darwin, NT, from March 1982 till April 1983 (McKean & Thompson
    Devillers, P. 1977. Observations at a breeding colony of Larus (belcheri) atlanticus. Le Gerfaut 67: 22-43
    Dwight, J. 1925. The gulls (Laridae) of the world: their plumages, moults, variations relationships and distribution.
    Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 52: 63-408
    Escalante, R. 1966. Notes on the Uruguayan population of Larus belched. Condor 68:507-510
    Gooders, J. (ed.). 1969. Birds of the World. IPC Magazines: London
    Grant, P. J. 1982. Gulls: a guide to identification. T. & A. D. Poyser Ltd: Calton, Staffordshire, England
    Harrison, P. 1983. Seabirds: an identification guide. A.H. & A.W. Reed: Sydney
    McKean, J.L. & H.A.F. Thompson. 1983. Northern Territory record of the Japanese Gull Larus crassirostris. Aust.
    Bird Watcher 10: 84-85
    Olrog, C. C. 1967. Breeding of the Band -tailed Gull (Larus belches) on the Atlantic coast of Argentina. Condor
    69: 42-48
    David W Eades, Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, 21 Gladstone Street, Moonee Ponds
    Vic 3039
    Chris J. Corben, 26 Warmington Street, Paddington Qld 4064100 Australian Birds 21(4)
    From January to March 1981 a Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan frequented about 13 km of the Moreton
    Bay coast between Clontarf (27018’S 153°05’E) and Scarborough (27016’S 153°06’E) on the
    Redcliffe Peninsula, south-eastern Queensland. First located on 10 January, it was seen – then or
    subsequently – by a number of observers, including both writers, T. Palliser, P. Veerman, A. Smyth,
    G. Ingram, P. Grice, A. Slorak, D.W. Eades, J.L. McKean, D.A. Stewart, J. Izzard, A. Daly, M. Olsen,
    D. Robinson, K. Bartram and C. Van der Held. The bird was seen at Scarborough on 10 January
    and 16 January, at Clontarf on 21 January, at Scarborough on 23 January, between Clontarf and
    Redcliffe on 26 January, and at Scarborough on 13 March. It was not easy to find and many searches
    went unrewarded.
    The bird was studied at close range for extended periods on several occasions, and a number
    of photographs were taken, some of which are reproduced here (Plates 12-13). The record has been
    accepted by the RAOU Records Appraisal Committee (RAC Case 37) and constitutes the first known
    occurrence of Franklin’s Gull in eastern Australia. Three previous records in Western Australia and
    a subsequent record at Sydney, New South Wales, have been summarised by Eades & Debus (1982).
    The following description is based both on notes taken with the bird in sight and from careful
    examination of photographs. The description applies to the bird as it appeared on 10 January.
    General: like a Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae but darker grey above and with an incomplete black
    hood on the head. Bill and legs mainly black. In flight, upperwing mainly grey with a broad
    white trailing edge, showing much less black at the wingtips than a Silver Gull.
    Size and shape: a little smaller than a Silver Gull, appearing more slender -bodied and shorter -necked
    with a less upright stance when on the ground. In flight, looked shorter in the wing, tail and
    neck than a Silver Gull, resulting in a more compact body profile.
    Plumage: back and most of the upperwing lead -grey, much darker than on a Silver Gull but close
    in tone to the upperparts of definitive (= adult) plumaged Crested Tern Sterna bergii. Longest
    scapulars tipped white. Upperwing mainly uniform lead -grey, with a prominent white trailing
    edge formed by broad white tips to the secondaries and innermost five primaries (P1 -P5), and
    small white apical spots on the outer primaries. A black triangle across the wingtip was created
    by pre-subterminal black bands across the outer primaries, increasing in width from P6
    outwards. This triangle was isolated from the grey primary bases by a white pre-subterminal
    bar cutting across the wingtip from just inside its leading edge to join the white trailing edgeDecember 1988 101
    at P5 (see further detail below). The pre-subterminal bar and trailing edge were conspicuously
    translucent when backlit. A pale sheen on the fresh remiges obscured their darkness at low
    angles of incidence giving the impression of a plain grey upperwing with a broad white trailing
    Tail: white, incorporating a very pale grey area on the central rectrices, bordered anteriorly by white
    uppertail coverts but not reaching the sides or tip of the tail. This grey area was difficult to
    see except in the most favourable light.
    Head: white with an incomplete black hood around the back of the crown extending to just in front
    of and below the eyes and reaching well below eye -level across the ear -coverts. Hood edged,
    especially on the upper nape, by dark grey mottling of black feathers with white tips. Similar
    mottling was sparsely distributed on the forecrown and forehead. Eyes separated from
    surrounding dark feathering by very conspicuous white crescents.
    Underparts: entirely white. Underwing mainly white with a black triangle corresponding to that on
    the upperwing. Undersurfaces of grey portions of remiges pale grey, forming a dusky band
    across the remiges, posterior to the white underwing coverts.
    Outer Primaries: further detail is provided here because of its significance in ageing the bird. P6
    (growing in) possessed a broad white apical spot, a narrow black subterminal band across
    both webs and a white pre-subterminal band at least as broad as the apical spot. P7 showed
    a narrower white apical spot than P6 but a much broader black subterminal mark, projected
    somewhat along the edge of the inner web. Its white pre-subterminal bar was also narrower
    than that of P6 but similarly extended right across the feather. P8 had a similar pattern to P7
    but with the black portion nearly twice as long and extending up along the outer vane well
    past the white pre-subterminal bar, cutting it off. P9 was only partially grown, but displayed
    even more black than on P8, with at least as much of an extension along the outer edge.
    Presumably if P9 had been fully grown the white pre-subterminal bar would have been well
    separated from the leading edge by black on the outer webs of both P9 and P8. There is no
    information available on the pattern of P10, except that it showed a narrow white apical spot
    similar to those of P7 -P9.
    Soft parts: legs slightly more slender and shorter than legs of Silver Gull. Appeared black but with
    a slight flesh tinge at close range. In flight, the toes fell short of the tail tip by about one
    centimetre unless tucked in. Bill like that of Silver Gull in structure but shining black with a
    small, bright red tip. Inside of mouth bright scarlet. Eye appeared black.
    Calls: ‘keeyow’ or ‘kerrayow`, the ‘ow’ downswept from four tones above to three tones below the
    first syllable. Higher pitched and louder than somewhat similar calls of Silver Gulls and very
    noticeable amongst them. Also ‘jit-jit’ and a laughing ‘kow, kow, kow, kow-kow-kow-kow’ with
    the first three notes descending and the last four in rapid succession.102 Australian Birds 21(4)
    Behaviour: very active and aggressive when feeding, frequently chasing and pecking at Silver Gulls,
    calling frequently. It captured flies over seaweed and also took scraps (e.g. apple core). Though
    mainly seen feeding on sandy beaches, on one occasion it was observed fishing at least 100
    m offshore. It roosted on beach, rocks or freshwater within 100 m of the sea. It was always
    in the company of Silver Gulls except on one occasion when noted flying alone for over one
    On 10 January 1981, some dark mottling on the head suggested active moult, but all of the lead –
    grey contour feathers looked fresh except for actively moulting scapulas. The tail was in moult. All
    secondaries (excluding four tertials per wing) were new except for active moult at the innermost.
    The inner two tertials were old, the outer two new. P1 -P4 were new; P5 nearly fully grown; P6 half
    grown on the left wing but missing on the right; P7 -P8 new and very fresh; P9 one third grown on
    the left, half grown on the right; P10 missing.
    By 26 January, tail and secondary moult apparently had been completed (unless the outer
    rectrices were missing). The innermost tertial was still old, and the next one out was two thirds grown.
    P6 on the left wing was fully grown, and that on the right was two-thirds grown; P9 on both wings
    was showing further growth, but neither was yet visible in the closed wing; P10 was still missing.
    On 13 March, the head was black where it had been mottled on 10 January and there was black
    mottling on the throat, malar region, lores and forehead. Two fresh, white -tipped scapulas had not
    been visible before, and the longest scapula was now showing wear at the tip. The left wing only
    was studied, but all remiges were new except P10, which was almost fully grown. There was
    noticeable wear at the tips of P7 and P8. The bill was dark red, lighter at the tip, with a blackish
    subterminal band. The legs showed a faint red tinge, but still looked black.
    A combination of size, lead -grey dorsum, obvious upperwing features and possession of a red bill
    immediately eliminates all species of gull except Laughing Gull L. atricilla and Franklin’s Gull. Unlike
    the Redcliffe bird, Laughing Gulls are larger than Silver Gulls, have relatively narrow eye -crescents,
    a distinctive drooped bill, and they apparently lack apical spots on the wingtips (or these are extremely
    small). The blackish half hood is a feature of Franklin’s Gull in basic (=winter, non -breeding) plumage,
    but is absent in Laughing Gulls in basic plumage. In particular, two features of the Redcliffe bird
    are diagnostic of Franklin’s Gull: a light grey centre to an otherwise white tail, and the separation
    of the grey basal portions of the outer primaries from the black subterminal area by a white band
    (Dwight 1925; Grant 1979).December 1988 103
    Based on data in Grant (1979) and Dwight (1925), we consider this bird to have been in its second
    calendar year, undergoing its second prealternate (= prebreeding) moult. Extensive black at the
    wingtips, small apical spots, and narrow (rather than broad) white subterminal bar across the outer
    primaries, all argue strongly against a bird in definitive (= adult) plumage. The wingtip pattern most
    closely resembled that of the bird in plate 151 of Grant (1982) but with even more black on the outer
    web of P8, differing profoundly from the bird in plate 152 in that respect. We note Grant’s own
    reservations about the reliability of separating second year and definitive plumages, but it would
    seem that the Redcliffe bird represents something of an extreme for second year birds, showing
    even more black at the wingtip than some of the first year birds that Grant portrayed elsewhere (e.g.
    plates 145 and 142).
    The bird in plate 145 (Grant 1982) bears a close resemblance to the Redcliffe Franklin’s Gull
    and, if it is correctly aged as first alternate, must raise the possibility of our bird being an advanced
    first year bird. However, it seems very unlikely that a first -year bird would already have lost all juvenal
    feathers as early as January.
    Whatever its age, the primary moult of the Redcliffe bird is anomalous in that moult was
    occurring simultaneously at two separate loci on the primary series. Franklin’s Gull is unusual in
    having two complete moults of the primaries each year, but from information in Grant (1982), Dwight
    (1925) and Cramp & Simmons (1983) it seems atypical that the two successive moults should overlap
    detectably. There are two possibilities: (1) that the prebasic moult had been delayed for some reason,
    thus overlapping with the subsequent prealternate moult, and (2) that the prealternate moult was
    occurring simultaneously from two different loci. Supporting the second hypothesis is the observation
    that in March, P6 had finished growing but there was no indication of moult of the (by then) somewhat
    worn P7 and P8. In any case, it seems likely that this particular bird’s aberrations were somehow
    connected to its appearance so far out of its normal range.
    We gratefully acknowledge the value of discussions with David Eades and the assistance of
    Terence Lindsey.
    Cramp, S. & Simmons, K. E. L. (eds). 1983. Handbook of the Birds of Europe the Middle East and North Africa:
    The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Oxford University Press: Oxford
    Dwight, J. 1925. The Gulls (Laridae) of the world: their plumages, moults, variations, relationships and distribution.
    Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 52: 63-408
    Eades, D.W. & Debus, S.J.S. 1982. A Franklin’s Gull in Sydney Harbour, NSW. Aust. Birds 17: 27-30
    Grant, P. 1982. Gulls: a guide to identification. T. & A.D. Poyser Ltd: Staffordshire, England
    Chris Corben, Queensland Department of Forestry, 80 Meiers Rd, lndooroopilly Qld 4068
    Greg Czechura, Queensland Museum, PO Box 300, South Brisbane Qld 4101104 Australian Birds 21(4)
    J.N. HOBBS
    Sharrock (1978. Bird Obs. no. 561: 45) reported Pink Cockatoos Cacatua leadbeateri feeding on
    the cones of the introduced Aleppo Pine Pinus halepensis at Tallimba, New South Wales.
    On 21 August 1982 saw three Pink Cockatoos feeding in Aleppo Pines planted as a windbreak
    alongside a station homestead at Colinroobie 23 km north of Narrandera and 67 km south of Tallimba.
    The station owner, E. Male, informed me that the cockatoos had been there for a week and they
    were the first Pink Cockatoos he had seen there during his long residence. They were also the only
    Pink Cockatoos saw in the Narrandera district in my two years of residence there.
    Since moving to Dareton, New South Wales in 1983 have frequently seen Pink Cockatoos in
    flocks of about ten birds feeding in an Aleppo Pine in the small park in the centre of the town. There
    are another five different exotic conifers in the park but they are never used by the cockatoos.
    From nearby Mildura, Victoria, I received a number of reports of Pink Cockatoos feeding in pine
    trees and on following up these reports have always found the trees to be Aleppo Pines. On 9 June
    1985 forty-two Pink Cockatoos were feeding in a lone Aleppo Pine in the centre of the city. Other
    flocks seen were smaller, although on 5 February 1985 a total of eighty-six Pink Cockatoos was
    counted on a drive round Mildura visiting known garden Aleppo Pines.
    It is obvious that the Pink Cockatoo finds the seeds in the cones of the Aleppo Pine an acceptable
    food and that it will penetrate built-up areas in its search for the pine.
    The Aleppo Pine, a native of the Mediterranean region, is a tall tree that grows well in parts of
    western New South Wales, thriving particularly well on the limy mallee sands around Dareton. It
    has been planted as a shade tree, a shelter tree and in windbreaks but know of no commercial
    forest plantings. It can be recommended for planting around homesteads within the range of the
    Pink Cockatoo where it would certainly attract these beautiful birds and could assist in the
    conservation of this species.
    The Sulphur -crested Cockatoo C. galerita also finds the Aleppo Pine an acceptable food plant.
    On 28 January 1986 saw a flock of over fifty birds feeding on Aleppo Pines at Barooga, New South
    Wales and saw over two hundred feeding in Aleppo Pines on the golf course at Robinvale, Victoria,
    on 8 March 1987.
    Both cockatoos feed on the fully formed green cones, tearing them open to obtain the seeds
    in the same manner as does the Yellow -tailed Black -cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus when
    feeding on cones of the Insignis Pine Pinus radiata (Forshaw & Cooper. 1981. Australian parrots.
    Lansdowne: Melbourne).
    J.N. Hobbs. 12 Hume Street, Dareton NSW 2717NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS
    Contributors are requested to observe the following points when submitting articles and notes
    for publication.
  2. Species, names, and the order in which they occur are to be in accordance with” Handlist
    of Birds in New South Wales”. AK. Morris, AR. McGill and G. Holmes 1981 Dubbo:
  3. Articles or notes should be typewritten if possible and submitted in duplicate. Double
    spacing is required.
  4. Margins of not less than 25mm width at the left hand side and top, with similar or slightly
    smaller at the right hand side of pages.
  5. No underlinings and no abbreviations except as shown in the examples.
  6. Photographs should be glossy finish and not too small.
  7. The Style Manual, Commonwealth Government Printing Office, Canberra (1966) and
    subsequent editions will be the guide for this Journal.
  8. Diagrams should be on plain white paper drawn with india ink Any lettering is to be
    ‘professional style’ or lightly pencilled.
  9. Dates must be written “1 January 1975” except in tables and figures where they may be
  10. The 24-hour clock will be used, times being written 06:30, 18:30 for 6.30 a.m. and
    6.30 p.m. respectively.
  11. Mr, Mrs, Dr are not followed by a full stop.
  12. In text, numbers one to ten are spelt numbers of five figures or more should be grouped in
    threes and spaced by a thin gap. Commas should not be used as thousands markers.
  13. References to other articles should be shown in the text-‘…B.W. Finch and M.D. Bruce
    (1974) stated…’ and under heading
    Finch, B.W. and M.D. Bruce 1974 The Status of the Blue Petrel in Australian Waters
    Aust. Birds 9, 32-35
  14. Acknowledgements to other individuals should include Christian names or initials.Volume 21, No. 4 December 1988
    Greg Czechura


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