Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus)

Clive

Joined June 2008

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Artist's Description

Image taken at Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine Peninsula, near Geelong, Victoria Australia
Camera Olympus E-30, Focal length 300.0mm,
Shutter speed 1/640s, f.9.0, ISO 200
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The Pacific Gull is on the Near Threatened list in Victoria
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The Pacific Gull is a very large black-backed gull with a massive yellow bill, broadly tipped with scarlet. The upper wings and wingtips are wholly black with a narrow white inner trailing edge, the tail is white with a broad black band near the end. The legs are yellow to orange-yellow. Juvenile Pacific Gulls are mottled dark brown with pale face and the bill is pink with a black tip. The immatures have dark brown wings, whitish mottled body and a black-tipped yellow bill. There are two forms of the Pacific Gull: the eastern form (race pacificus) has a white eye and a complete red tip to the bill while the western form (race gergii) has a red eye and an incomplete red tip to the bill. The Pacific Gull is endemic to southern Australia and occurs mostly on south and west coasts, Tasmania and infrequently on the east coast.

Habitat
The Pacific Gull prefers sandy, or less often, rocky coasts and sandy beaches. In eastern Australia, the Pacific Gull prefers areas that are protected from ocean swells such as estuaries, bays and harbours. In Western Australia, it occurs occasionally in harbours but mostly on exposed coasts and offshore islands. It usually avoids human habitation but is occasionally seen on farmland and rubbish tips near the coast but rarely inland. It can be found roosting or loafing in elevated situations such as rocky headlands or on structures such as wharves and jetties.
The Pacific Gull breeds in scattered single pairs or small, loose colonies on high points on headlands or islands. Two types of nests are built: one a scrape or depression in the ground, either unlined or lined with small stones or gravel, the other is a neatly constructed shallow bowl made of sticks, grass, seaweed or feathers. Both sexes build the nest with the female doing most of the incubation while the male forages for food and stands guard near the nest.


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