(2065) Larus fuscus taimyrensis.
THE EASTERN HERRING-GULL.
Larus fuscus taimyrensis Buturlin, Men. Orn. 1911. p. 149 (Yenesei). Larus affinis. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 304.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Mantle rather dark, slaty-grey, the scapulars and inner secondaries with broad white tips; first primary black with a grey base to the inner web and a large white spot near the tip ; second primary black with a wedge-shaped grey mark on the basal half of the inner web and a white tip ; on succeeding feathers the grey increases until the 6th primary is grey with white tip and broad subterminal black band; innermost primaries and outer secondaries rather darker grey than the mantle; remaining plumage white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris white to pale yellow; bill yellow with a bright red patch near the tip of the lower mandible ; gape and eyelids orange to orange-vermilion ; legs and feet pale yellow to orange-yellow.
Measurements. Wing 430 to 463 mm.; tail 161 to 176 mm.; tarsus 67 to 73 mm.; culmen 48 to 60 mm.
In Winter the crown and neck are generally marked with brown, assuming the shape of a demi collar of spots on the nape and sides of the neck.
Young birds have the whole upper plumage dark brown, each feather broadly edged with white, more buffy on the wings ; tail dark brown, tipped with white and mottled with white on the basal third; quills dark brown, the wedge-shaped marks of grey replaced by lighter brown and much less in extent; below white everywhere mottled and streaked with dull pale brown. Bill yellow at the base, brown elsewhere ; legs dull fleshy-yellow.
Nestling in down. Greyish-buff, streaked and spotted with black on the upper parts and throat.
Distribution. From about the Dwina River in North Russia to the Yenesei. In Winter South to Palestine, Arabia, Mesopotamia and North-West India. In India it occurs not uncommonly on the coasts of Mekran and Sind and has been obtained as far South as Travancore.
Nidification. This Gull nests in colonies on the tundras of Northern Russia and Siberia, making a nest, often of considerable size, of rushes and weeds in a depression in the moss or soil. The eggs number three and are not distinguishable from those of the Western forms of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Twenty-eight eggs (26 Jourdain) average 70.7 X. 48.7 mm.: maxima 80.5 X 50.3 and 72.6 X 51.7 mm.; minima 62.7 X 47.8 and 68.0 x 44.5 mm.
This bird breeds in June and July.
Habits. This is an extremely common Winter visitor to the Mekran and Sind coasts but keeps entirely to the sea, not wandering inland as does the Yellow-legged Herring-Gull. It is a great scavenger and seems to live principally on offal from the ships in the harbour. It arrives in Sind in September, a few coming as early as August and most have left by the end of May, though a few non-breeding birds of the second year remain throughout the hot weather.