On 24 July an ABA Code-5 Gray-hooded Gull (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus) was found by Sara Burch and Jacob McCartney and later photographed near W. 11th Street on Coney Island Beach, New York, the report appearing first on eBird. Photographs of the birds can be seen here (link below; combine the two lines). The bird was relocated on the afternoon of 29 July in the same location between Nathan's Famous and the Ferris wheel.
The only accepted record of Gray-hooded Gull in the ABA Area is an adult from Apalachicola, Florida on 26 December 1998. One report also comes from Panama and one from the Galapagos (ABA Checklist, 7thEdition, Pranty et al.). Gray-hooded Gull is a resident of Africa and both coasts of South America north to Ecuador where it is either a 2- or 3-cycle gull. The New World subspecies is the nominate averaging slightly larger, dorsally paler, and with fainter head markings and averaging a larger white mirror band than subspecies poiocehphalus from Africa (Gulls of the Americas, Howell and Dunn).
Gray-hooded Gulls are colonial nesters (neighbors sometimes less than 3 feet distant) with the breeding season in Africa from April to May, and in Peru early May. Many populations are permanent residents or sometimes they will disperse short distances with inland breeders dispersing to the coast. However, some birds from Natal move 2000 KM north along the Atlantic and Indian Ocean coasts (Handbook of the Birds of the World, Volume 3). Vagrants in the Old World have been recorded from Spain and to the northern Red Sea. There has been no census for the South American population and few nesting areas are known.
The big question now becomes provenance of this individual.