Grahamstown Birding

  • Rusty Justy
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7 years 6 months ago #28726 by Rusty Justy
Rusty Justy created the topic: Grahamstown Birding
Hi All,

Just a few images taken recently while own in the Eastern Cape.

The pair of White Bellied Korhaans were seen on a cycle a few days ago out in the Mayfield District, and the Cape Eagle Owl pair were photographed toay (23/08/2010)- this is only the second time I have found both birds on a single trip and was happy to photograph the both of them.

This Gull I originally was quite confused about as it ha yellower legs and a pale iris, I was never quite sure what was going on regaring the Splits of Kelp and Cape Gulls but It appears there is no such bird as the Cape Gull, but rather the birds we see are the L. D. vetula subspecies of the Kelp Gull, if I understood at all?! <!-- s:scratchchin: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/scratchchin.gif" alt=":scratchchin:" title="Perplexed" /><!-- s:scratchchin: -->

This is what Philip Wittington from the East London Museum had say, any further comments are well come. :D

"Regarding the gull, there seems to be some confusion here. The "split" of "Cape" Gull from Kelp Gull was based on one paper and two field guides briefly "jumping the gun". Frederic Jiguet published a paper in 2002 on the taxonomy of these birds based on plumage and morphology (i.e. not genetics) in which he presented evidence for five good subspecies of Kelp Gull (including our very own "Cape" Gull Larus dominicanus vetula). In fact, vetula is actually the most distinctive of the subspecies because it has a dark (not a pale) iris (silvery ground colour with dense brown speckling). So "Cape" Gull is the local gewone Kelp Gull and has a dark not a pale iris (but beware because some "Cape" Gulls do occasionally have a white iris but can be identified as Cape Gulls on other sttructural features). Nominate race Kelp Gulls L. d. dominicanus do occasionally occur and should they ever be split would constitute an "armchair tick", should you ever be that desperate. Roberts 7 decided to retain vetula as a subspecies based on Jiguet's work and the current lack of a genetic study to suggest otherwise. The bird in the photo is in my opinion good, old, made in RSA L. d. vetula."



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  • Doug
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7 years 6 months ago #28732 by Doug
Doug replied the topic: Re: Grahamstown Birding
Nice pics.

With regards the gull, that is as Trevor Hardaker explained it to me. Cape gull is a "premature" split for which no specific definitive work has been done to classify it as a species to "Cape Gull" is just a race of Kelp gull.

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