Khniffis Lagoon conundrum continues
On the Atlantic coast of Morocco the conundrum of the large and dark backed gulls continues to play out. Both Cape Gulls and Great Black- backed Gulls have been seen, what seems uncertain is how many of each species have occurred at different times. Enter the other element of small pioneering gull colonies: the high incidence of hybridization. You can begin to imagine the problems! More:
and articles in Birding World magazine
Atlantic Yellow-legged Gulls also occur in the area. So the photos of the bird below (taken March 19th 2011) by Vincent Legrand are intriguing. They are stunning photos and at first glance my best guess would be something with a GBB type head and bill (watered down) that had a Yellow-legged Gull as its other parent. However as Vincent has pointed out, the white trailing edge to the primaries is particularly wide. A feature of Cape Gull. So hypothetically, an adult Yellow-legged Gull X Cape Gull hybrid?! And the inevitable scary question- what if the Great Black-backed and Cape Gulls hybridise?
Have a look:
Apparent hybrid gull, Khniffis Lagoon, Southern Morocco, 19th March 2011, Vincent Legrand.