Ring-billed Gulls, Myrtle Beach Ring-billed Gull, Myrtle Beach Ring-billed Gull, Myrtle Beach

Two Ring-billed Gulls, with different color “stockings.”

Seagulls and their Stockings

By Henry H. Mitchell, January 2009.

In a chance meeting along the beach, I noticed that two Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis) near each other were wearing distinctly different “stockings.” One had legs and feet of a bright yellow hue. The other was wearing a very conservative slightly-greenish gray.

Leg-color variations are an indication of age. The youngest birds have pink legs. (I didn't see any of that description on this particular day, but see the next paragraph.) By the time the bird is a little over a year old, its legs are gray or greenish gray. By the time the bird is fully adult at a little over two years old, its legs are yellow or greenish-yellow.

On this day the birds seemed to be clustered along the beach in groups with similar leg color. A few days later I came across a sizeable group of young, pink-legged gulls (scroll down to photograph below). Could it be that Ring-billed Gulls are age-conscious?

Ring-billed Gulls, Myrtle Beach

A cluster of young pink-legged Ring-billed Gulls.

This guide to Myrtle Beach is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.