English and Scientific names:

Sabine's Gull   Xema sabini

Number of individuals: 

one juvenile

Locality: LOUISIANA: 


Specific Locality:

Cross Lake

Date(s) when observed:


Time(s) of day when observed:  

6:45 pm

Reporting observer and address:

Charles Lyon

Shreveport, LA

Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):


Other observers accompanying reporter who independently identified the bird(s):


Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):

sunset with low light but  good enough tomake an accurate id The bird was to the north of me for most of the observation with the sun to the west

Optical equipment: 

10 by 42 EL Swarovskis

Distance to bird(s): 

As close as 30 yards

Duration of observation:

10 minutes+


open water with a flock of Franklin's Gulls

Behavior of bird: 

I picked the bird up just prior to sunset when a group of 41 Franklin's  Gulls came in from the east. As I was counting the Franklin's Gulls, I picked up the juvenile Sabine's  Gull flying about. It briefly settled on the water but took off again as I approached in fading light. I followed it a few minutes longer in the boat,but after that  I didn't  try to chase it any longer .


Slightly smaller and a bit more errratic in flight than the Franklin's gulls  it was associating with,.The wings were less rounded than the Franklin's Gull,  and the striking wing pattern was obvious.  The outer primaries and coverts were black, with the inner primaries and secondaries showing a white triangle. The back and secondary coverts were brownish, as was the head and sides of the neck. The notched tail was black tipped. All of these colors and patterns were clearly seen, even in the fading light.


silent   Some of the Franklin's Gull were calling however. I've never heard a
Sabine's gull call in all my sightings.

Similar species:

See above. This is an id that you really can't confuse with anything else.

Photographs or tape recordings obtained?

I didn't  get any video on this bird. I had my video camera with me,  and I initially gave pursuit, but didn't get close enough for good video. I aborted the video mission with approaching darkness. I've got multiple video images of some of my past sightings.

Previous experience with this species: 

extensive in multiple states,coasts, and even in England where it is quite rare.

Identification aids:

At time of observation: none

After observation: National Geo, Sibley

This description is written from: 


Are you positive of your identification? If not, explain: 




Charles Lyon

Date and time: 

11-11-07 11pm