Summer is the time when there are many bird species with young fledglings just out of the nest. The Silver Gull is one that shows its new plumage off well.
When the birds are very young they have a black bill, eyes and legs. Their wings are mottled buff and brown with black on the wing tip with small white spots. As they get older their bill and legs get more and more red until the bill and legs are completely red. Their eyes also change to be white with a black pupil and a red eye ring.
The feathers over the back and wings also change during this time, becoming less mottled, losing the buff and brown colours, and finally showing the clean silver-grey back and wings of an adult bird. In adult plumage they also have a clean white tail. You can tell by the colour of the plumage and the bill, eyes and legs that the bird in the photo is an adult.
The Silver Gull is the only small gull in Australia and is found in diverse habitats ranging from the surf and clis of ocean coasts to offshore islands, inland rivers, lakes, temporary floodwaters, ponds and rubbish dumps. They are very opportunistic and adaptable and so are able to flourish wherever there is a supply of food and somewhere to breed.
They nest in colonies on the ground in a shallow scrape lined with vegetation. They lay two to three eggs and both male and female birds share nest preparation, incubation and feeding duties.
The best place to see these gulls in Centennial Parklands is at Duck Pond. See if you can tell the age of the birds by studying their body colour.