Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2010-42

Common name:

Kumlien's Gull (Iceland Gull)

Scientific name: Larus (glaucoides) kumlieni
Date: 02-25-09
Time: 1530-1700
Length of time observed: ~ 1.5 hours
Number: 2
Age: first-cycle
Location: Farmington Bay WMA
County: Davis
Latilong: 5
Elevation: ~ 4300 ft
Distance to bird: 10-25 m
Optical equipment: 10-60x scope
Weather: clear and calm
Light Conditions: direct afternoon sunlight
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
There were two gulls present that I believe were first-cycle Kumlien s Gulls (both pictured in Photo A). One slightly larger with more dusky markings in wings and an all black bill, and the other smaller and very white overall with a bicolored bill. Both gulls relatively small and delicately built (considerably smaller than nearby Herring, Western, Glaucous, and Glaucous-winged Gulls). Small rounded head and short stubby bill. Black eye. Overall very pale and whitish with a few scattered brownish markings; fine light creamy brownish speckling/ barring on back, coverts, wings (particularly tertials), and uppertail coverts. Wingtips pale (same color as back and underparts) and long (projecting well past tail). Tail white with slightly darker base to uppertail. Undertail coverts white with fine light brown barring. Bill on one bird all black and other smaller bird with black tip and flesh pink base. Legs fleshy pink.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: na
Behavior: foraging on dead carp, swimming, and resting on ice.
Habitat: wetland impoundment
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Nominate Iceland Gull (glaucoides) - has even colored primaries vs. slightly browner on Kumlien's. Apparently Iceland Gulls show the bicolored bill more often than Kumlien's, but this character can overlap, particularly in late winter (as the bill gradually becomes lighter).

Thayer's Gull and Thayer's hybrids - larger and longer-billed, with brown to light brown wingtips (blackish brown outer webs on outer primaries), dark secondary bar, darker tail, and more evenly brown tertials.

Glaucous Gull - larger and stouter overall with longer bill, thicker legs, and shorter broad wings (and shorter primary projection) with all white wingtips.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:  
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Steve and Cindy Sommerfeld, Paul Higgins, and others reported a first-cycle 'Iceland' Gull in early February at Farmington Bay, but I'm not sure which of these two birds was observed.
Date prepared: 10-05-10
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: description copied from field notes taken while studying gulls at Farmington Bay on 02-25-09.