Adult Winter Slaty-backed Gull (Larus schistisagus) in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Spain - December 2014
Local Name (Japan): ō se-guro kamome (オオセグロカモメ) 'large black-backed gull'
OTHER NAMES: Pacific Gull
The Slaty-backed Gull is a fairly standard sort of Larus gull visually - pink legs like a Herring Gull and a dark back like a Lesser Black-backed. What I found fairly striking about the individuals that I got a close look at was how the darkened area around the eye and the fairly stocky build gave it a slight air of aggression that I'd normally associate with something like a Glaucous gull. When it sits on a post above you, eyeing you up there is a bit of a hint of it trying to decide whether to try and eat you. I found Slaty-backed Gulls abundant in Hokkaido, replacing the Vega Gulls which had been the most common species in Tokyo. There was actually within the period I've been making this blog a Slaty-backed visitor to Britain, including visiting the landfill adjacent to Rainham which is a site I've frequented before. However, given the quality of this view of this species in Japan, I'm glad I didn't bother then.
Subspecies: None - monotypic
- Sighting Locations -
JAPAN - Common Winter Migrant to Hokkaido and Northern Japan
- TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: Abundant on Hokkaido Coast, dozens seen at each of Akkeshi, Kushiro and Shiranuka