Mediterranean Gull (L. melanocephalus)

(last update: 21-10-2005)

Mediterranean Gull E 39V adult, January 03 2002, Le Portel /Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,1.34E).

The low winter sun creates a warm orangey hue. This individual is ringed: left white 39V. This colour-ringed bird has been recorded about 100 times. It was born summer 1996, ringed at Hellegatsplaten-Volkerakmeer, the Netherlands (51.42N,4.22E) on June 17 1996. Until February 1999 it was recorded, almost every month at Le Portel, France (50.42N,1.34E). From April 1999 until June 28 1999 it was seen in the breeding colony of Antwerpen-Zandvlietsluis, Belgium (51.20N,4.17E). After the breeding season it was recorded again at Le Portel from late July onwards. In 2000 it was seen in the Antwerpen colony again on one occasion (February 27 2000). The exact location of the breeding grounds are not known for summer 2000 and summer 2001, but from July onwards it was seen at Le Portel again. In the image below an un-ringed adult Mediterranean Gull.

From late summer to September, a complete moult takes place, bringing birds into so-called "adult winter" plumage. The head pattern in wintering bird resembles "first winter plumage" after finishing the complete moult: a blackish mask behind the eye. In individual 39V, the head pattern is remarkable extensive. The mantle, scapulars, tertials and all the wing-coverts have been replaced for plain pale grey feathers. 
The secondaries are completely white. The new adult primaries are shiny pearly-grey, flashing white at a distance. There is a black line along the outer-web of P10 (and sometimes on P9 as well). Secondaries, under-wing and tail are completely white. The bare part coloration: Iris brown, orbital ring red or orangey-red, the bill red or orangey-red with a black bill-band (and a yellowish tip) and the legs dull reddish or dark.

Below: Mediterranean Gull adult, January 03 2002, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,1.34E). 

Note the white outer primaries in adult Mediterranean Gull.