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Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini - Summer plumage. L 30-35cm. Distinctive seabird. Can only be confused with juvenile Kittiwake but upperwing patterns are separable with care. Sexes are similar. Adult in summer has blue-grey back and upperwings, dark hood, dark wingtips with white spots and dark bill with yellow tip. In flight, upperwing pattern is diagnostic: triangular patches of black, white and grey. Tail is forked. In winter, similar but dark smudges on nape replace dark hood. Juvenile has a upperwing pattern to adult but triangle of grey replaced by scaly grey-brown. Forked tail is dark-tipped. Voice Silent. Status Nests in high Arctic and winters at sea in southern oceans. Seen here mainly as offshore passage migrant in autumn. Does not willingly come close to land.
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154972
Sabine’s Gull Xema sabini - Summer plumage. L 30-35cm. Distinctive seabird. Can only be confused with juvenile Kittiwake but upperwing patterns are separable with care. Sexes are similar. Adult in summer has blue-grey back and upperwings, dark hood, dark wingtips with white spots and dark bill with yellow tip. In flight, upperwing pattern is diagnostic: triangular patches of black, white and grey. Tail is forked. In winter, similar but dark smudges on nape replace dark hood. Juvenile has a upperwing pattern to adult but triangle of grey replaced by scaly grey-brown. Forked tail is dark-tipped. Voice Silent. Status Nests in high Arctic and winters at sea in southern oceans. Seen here mainly as offshore passage migrant in autumn. Does not willingly come close to land.

Filename: 154972.jpg
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Date: 18 Sep 2013
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Credit: JOE PENDER/Nature Photographers Ltd
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