[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: two questions
Although I am no gull expert, I had reason at one point to research the pink
blush that is sometimes reported on the undersides of gulls and terns. As I
understand there are a couple theories about the pink in the breast.
The first theory is that the brood patches of these seabirds is so densely
covered with blood vessels that the pink shows through the white feathers.
I've seen brood patches on a couple of larger songbirds in the hands of banders
(Brown Thrasher comes to mind first) and I can see where that might be possible.
The second theory is that the oil secreted by the uropygial gland at base of
the tail of these seabirds is pink, the oil itself is pink. Depending on the
density of the layer of oil on the bird and the vigor and consistency with
which the bird has been preening, a pink cast or blush could be visible on the
feathers, especially the white feathers of the breast.
Also keep in mind that being a bird, especially a seabird, isn't the cleanest
job in the world. The bird could have been stained by some foreign substance
like blood in the water at a feeding site.
So the answer is many of the gulls and some of the terns can and do
occasionally show some pink on the breast. Some have more of tendency to do so
than others (apparently Franklin's gull and I think Sabine's Gulls are reported
to have a pink cast in breeding plumage sometimes, as well as, of course,
Hope this helps.
Donna Slyce Bailey