Kelp Gull | Larus dominicanus
The Kelp Gull is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Laridae bird family group which includes birds such as Typical Shrikes.
The description for the Kelp Gull (Latin name Larus dominicanus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Larus dominicanus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 312 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 439. You will find a picture of the Kelp Gull on page 416.
NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.
There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Kelp Gull between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition
The Kelp Gull has a height of 65 cms and weighs around 1000 gms. The head is coloured white while the bill is coloured yellow. The Larus dominicanus has a white coloured throat, yellow legs and a white coloured back. The eyes are brown.
Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.
Head is white
Eyes are brown
Bill is yellow
Legs are yellow
Throat is white
Back is white
Feeding Habits ...
This bird forages for food on the ground
This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.
This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Kelp Gull strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.
This bird is a well known scavenger and rarely kills its own prey.
The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Kelp Gull uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.
Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...
The Kelp Gull is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 4 eggs and they are coloured green.
The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.
The bird builds its nest on the ground with figs, straw and leaves. The nest is placed under a bush to protect the young from predators.
You can see the Kelp Gull bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds
Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...
The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."
copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105
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