Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
THE IVORY GULL.
LARUS EBURNEUS, Gmel.
PLATE CCCCXLV.--ADULT AND YOUNG.
Having ascertained that this beautiful species visits the southern coast of
Labrador and Newfoundland every winter, I have thought it probable that it
occasionally extends its rambles as far as our eastern shores, and therefore
determined to include it in my Illustrations. The figures in the plate were
taken from two specimens procured by Captain JAMES CLARK Ross, one of which was
an adult male, the other a young bird in its second year. Captain SABINE says
that the Ivory Gulls are attracted in considerable numbers by whale blubber, are
therefore usually found in company with the Procellaria glacialis, and are
easily killed, being by no means shy. Dr. RICHARDSON informs us that they were
observed breeding in great numbers on the high perforated cliffs which form the
extremity of Cape Parry, in latitude 70 degrees.
LARUS EBURNEUS, Bonap. Syn., p. 360.
LARUS EBURNEUS, Ivory Gull, Swains. and Rich. F. Bor. Amer.
IVORY GULL, Nutt. Man., vol. ii. p. 301.
IVORY GULL, Larus eburneus, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. iii. p. 571.
Adult, 19, 41.
Accidental on the coast of the United States. Common in winter in Labrador
and Newfoundland. Breeds in high latitudes.
Bill shorter than the head, robust, nearly straight, compressed. Upper
mandible with the dorsal line nearly straight at the base, arched and declinate
towards the end, the ridge convex, the sides slightly so, the edges sharp, a
little inflected, somewhat arched, the tip rather obtuse. Nasal groove rather
long and narrow; nostrils in its fore part, lateral, longitudinal, linear, wider
anteriorly, pervious. Lower mandible with a prominence at the end of the angle,
which is long and narrow, the dorsal line slightly concave and ascending, the
sides flattened, the edges sharp and inflected.
Head rather large. Neck of moderate length, strong. Body rather full.
Feet of moderate length, stout; tibia bare below; tarsus somewhat compressed,
covered before with numerous scutella, on the sides and behind with series of
small angular scales; the hind toe very small and elevated, the fore toes of
moderate length, the fourth much longer than the second, the third longest, the
hind one with a single scutellum and three transverse series of scales, the rest
scutellate above and connected by reticulate membranes having a concave margin,
the lateral toes margined externally with a narrow membrane. Claws stout,
rather large, arched, compressed, rather obtuse, that of middle toe with an
enlarged inner edge.
The plumage in general is close, full, elastic, soft and blended, on the
back rather compact. Wings very long, rather broad, acute, the first quill
longest, the other primaries rapidly graduated; secondaries broad and rounded,
the inner tapering but rounded. Tail of moderate length, even, of twelve rather
broad rounded feathers.
Bill bright yellow, greenish-dusky at the base. Iris brown, edges of
eyelids vermilion. Feet and claws black. The whole of the plumage is pure
Length to end of tail 19 inches, to end of wings 20 1/2; extent of wings
41; wing from flexure 13 1/2; tail 6 1/4; bill along the back 1 5/12, along the
edge of lower mandible 2; tarsus 1 7/12; middle toe 1 2/12, its claw
(5 1/2)/12. Weight 20 oz.
Young of the second year, killed in September.
After the second moult, the bill is pale yellow at the end, dusky at the
base for two-thirds of its length; the edges of the eyelids vermilion, the iris
brown, the feet black. The plumage is white; the forehead and sides of the head
mottled with leaden-grey; most of the wing-coverts have towards the end a spot
of greyish-black, and the quills, large coverts, and tail-feathers are similarly
marked, the markings on the tail forming a subterminal bar.