Kumlien’s Gull

Published on 12 October 1998

BBRC will not consider records from 1st Jan 1999.

Following the summer meeting of the BBRC at Portland we have decided that we will no longer consider records of Kumlien’s Gull Larus glaucoides kumlieni from 1st January 1999.

BBRC feels that there are a number of problems with this form:

  1. Since the recent interest in the identification of this subspecies it seems that Kumlien’s is best considered a scarce winter visitor.
  2. The range of plumage variation is such that it is difficult to establish clear divisions between nominate Iceland Gull and Kumlien’s Gull particularly in 1st year plumages.
  3. Whilst a number can be safely identified, this isn’t true for many as we know that birds indistinguishable in the field from nominate both breed and winter in areas where only Kumlien’s Gull is meant to occur. In Britain we are therefore limiting ourselves to identifying only a proportion of the extralimitlal visitors.
  4. Because of the problems of identification, the lack of clarity as to which birds are Kumlien’s, the shifting nature of their taxonomic status and the change in status in Britain which may represent a change in occurrence but is more likely to reflect a change in observer behaviour we feel that the process of record assessment is not achieving anything scientifically.
  5. BBRC would encourage observers to continue to submit records of those individuals resembling Thayer’s Gull L. thayeri as these will help in the assessment of future claims of Thayer’s Gulls.