Slender-billed gull Chroicocephalus genei Koh Preah, Mekong River, Cambodia March 18-19, 2012
Early in the morning of March 18th (1-2AM) a storm hit Koh Preah. Gale force winds and torrential rain pounded the island until just before dawn. Upon awakening, I headed to the north end of the island. I thought perhaps there might be some waders or other migrants that had gotten forced down by the storm. All along the shoreline and in amongst the small pratincole colony were numerous shorebirds; two curlew, a single godwit, numerous redshanks, three black-winged stilts, two oriental pratincoles and a large flock of gulls and terns. Amongst this group of gulls, most of which were brown-headed, I noticed one bird that seemed a bit smaller and appeared to have a thinner bill and very long slender neck. I approached the birds to get a closer look. From this vantage I could clearly see the long thin red bill, pale eyes and the very pale primary tips. This bird did indeed look like a slender-billed gull, Chroicocephalus genei . I am familiar with this species from the Delta de Ebro on the Mediterranean coast of Spain where they are a breeding visitor. I watched the gull for the next hour or so and took many photos. The following day I returned to the same spot and found the gull in the same location with the brown-headed gull flock. This time I was able to approach much closer (30m) and take some much clearer photos of the bird.
Structure: Noticeably smaller than the brown-headed gulls that it was in amongst, very long-necked, long thin bill, long sloping forehead
Plumage: Pale head with no dark smudge behind the eye, pale eyes, white mirrors on the outer primaries/leading edge of the upper wing, black along the trailing edge of the upper wing
If you would like more info./photos of the bird just email and I will get that to you Cheers, Jeff