Sabine's Gull

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Sabine's Gull
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Laridae
Genus:Xema
Species:X. sabini
Binomial name
Xema sabini
(Sabine,, 1819)

The Sabine's Gull, Xema sabini, is a small gull, the only species in its genus. It breeds in the arctic and has a circumpolar distribution through northernmost North America and Eurasia. It migrates south in autumn, most of the population wintering at sea in the north Pacific, although Greenland birds cross the Atlantic to winter off northwest Europe.

This species is easy to identify through its striking wing pattern. The adult had a pale grey back and wing coverts, black primary flight feathers and white secondaries. The white tail is forked.

Young birds have a similar tricoloured wing pattern, but the grey is replaced by brown, and the tail has a black terminal band. The juveniles take two years to attain full adult plumage.

The Sabine's Gull breeds on coasts and tundra, laying two or three eggs in a ground nest. It is very pelagic outside the breeding season. It takes a wide variety of mainly animal food, and will eat any suitable small prey.

This bird was named after the English scientist Sir Edward Sabine by his brother Joseph Sabine.

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