Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I need to gar-gull.

I got a shock when I first came to Australia. The seagulls all sounded like they had a cold. Unfortunately my Field Guide to Australian Birds by Pizzey and Knight doesn't describe the call of the gull I was used to hearing in England so you'll have to make do with my attempt to put it into words: it is a high pitched "co-loy co-loy co-loy co-loy!". The book does have a fair bit about the Silver Gull which is what I reckon this photo is of.

   "Voice: "short, harsh, gutteral 'korr' or 'keow'; longer, harsh descending 'karrr-karrr-karrr'." other words like they have something stuck in their throats. Anyway, reading into it a bit, I see that there are several different types of gull in Australia with different voice descriptions. At the risk of going into it far too much:

Pacific Gull: shouted 'ow! ow!; muffled 'auk, auk' gruff chuckles; whining stutters
Kelp Gull: yelping or laughing 'yo-yo-yo-yo' (I think that might be the one I know from England)
Black Headed Gull : high-pitched harsh screams in quick succession: 'kreeooo' or 'kraaahr'
Black Tailed Gull: plaintive mewing
Franklin's Gull: shrill 'kuk-kuk-kuk'; also nasal 'kear, kear'
Laughing Gull: strident laugh or variety of low chuckles
Sabine's Gull: harsh grating and tern-like 'k-year'
Lesser Black-Backed Gull: similar to Kelp Gull.

There now. More than you will ever need to know about the various calls of Australian Gulls.


Jim said...

Good one.

Joanna said...

Nice photo Cara. The gulls around here (Chicago) are mostly ring-billed gulls and herring gulls and they have the tendency to run away as soon as I pick up my camera! I have caught a couple though with my stealth zoom, haha...

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