Every winter, I see a few Black-tailed gulls (Larus crassirostris) on our shorelines. They generally do not stay for longer than two weeks. In January 2016, I photographed eight Black-tailed gulls on Nagahama beach. Four gulls had oil residue stuck on their feathers. The birds were constantly bathing in the sea water and preening. The Black-tailed gulls are abundant on the mainland, but on Okinawa they are a rare sight.
Possible reasons why there are no seagulls living on Okinawa.
- Warm water temperatures – too warm ( 68F- 88F)
- Not enough food (fish, worms, mollusks)
- Competition with other birds ( osprey, terns and crows )
- Small land mass
A mature Black-tailed gull bathing and preening. It was working hard trying to get the oil residue off its feathers.
Mature gulls feeding on fish scraps