Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis

(last update: October 08 2013)

Coordinators:
Delfín González
Gabriel Martín
Antonio Gutierrez
Amir Ben Dov
Mars Muusse

Larus michahellis - adult April

This website deals with the Yellow-legged Gull taxon michahellis, which is a common migrant from July to December in NW Europe. After extensive expansion of the breeding population during the last three decades, it nowadays can be found breeding in Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain in mixed couples with both Herring Gull (argenteus) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (graellsii). There are subtle differences between the populations from the Mediterranean, Atlantic coast of Portugal and Morocco and from the islands in the Atlantic. Most pronounced differences can be found in the taxon atlantis, now regarded as full species by some authors and birds along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian peninsular: lusitanius. Both atlantis and lusitanius are treated in their own sections on this website.

Colour rings from Frankfurter colony, Germany

pictures: Nicolas Hoffmann.

background info here

On the roof of Posthof near Frankfurt Central Station, an interesting colony,interesting both in location and in compostion, developed over the lats few years, and much of this development has been the suject in contributions of HGON - Birdnet. Three new gull species of breeding birds were added to the list of Hesse in recent years: 2008 - the first pair of Herring Gulls started breeding. Since 2009, a Great Black-backed Gull nested successfully with a Yellow-legged Gull, and in fact this is the first evidence of hybridization of both species at all. In 2013, Caspian Gull (or a Caspian Gull hybrid) was recorded here, which also reared two youngs in a mixed breeding with Yellow-legged Gull.

Thanks to the support of the Security Service of the nearby Commerzbank it was possible to enter the neighboring building of Commerzbank and regularly survey the colony. This year, 2013, the post office granted access to the colony for the first time. In cooperation with the State Ornithological Station and the Heligoland Bird Observatory HGON first efforts were made to ring young birds of the Frankfurt colony, attaching colour rings from a larger programme, run by Sönke Martens. Sönke Martens has been studying gulls since 2005, especially migration, distribution and breeding behavior of Herring Gulls in several colonies in northern Germany. The biologist Martin Gottschling, a Helgoland ringer in the Herring Gull colonies, visited the Posthof and supported the local ringing project.

Ringing efforts

On the rooftop, 27 breeding pairs of large gulls have been counted: 19 breeding pairs of Yellow-legged Gulls, 1 pair of Yellow-legged x Great Black-backed Gull, 1 pair of Caspian x Yellow-legged Gull, and 6 pairs of Herring Gulls. In total, 48 young birds were ringed this year, and 38 of these juveniles were attached with color rings. The color rings are yellow with a black four-digit code consisting of two digits , two numbers and a separation point.

The first chicks fledged and as could be expected, they occurred in the neighbourhood of Frankfurt and elsewhere in Hesse. In late summer though, the young birds probably migrated, as most adult birds do.

Observations of these colour ringed large gulls are very welcome, if possible supported by photographes, as the development of various age plumages of individual birds is extremely interesting.

Ring readings can be sent to the Heligoland Bird Observatory: email to ifv.ring@ifv-vogelwarte.de. Local ornithologist Ingo Rösler is interested as well, to keep the Bird Forum in Hesse up to date with info.

adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis U0AB 2CY, 4CY & 5CY, February 2011, May 2013 & April 2014, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
Yellow-legged Gull michahellis U2DB adult, April 25 2013, Tel Aviv - University Zool. Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April, ringed in the Netherlands. (93737 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis U3DF adult, April 25 2013, Tel Aviv - University Zool. Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April, ringed in the Netherlands. (93737 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis U8AF adult, April 20 2014, Ramat Gan Safari, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April, ringed in the Netherlands. (93737 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis U8JJ adult, April 25 2013, Tel Aviv - University Zool. Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.

adult michahellis in April, ringed in the Netherlands. (93737 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis 13+cy CU9, Missouriweg - Maasvlakte, the Netherlands, April 29 2002 (51.59N,04.02E). At least from the early 90's, but maybe during the 80's as well, Yellow-legged Gulls (L. michahellis) can be found in the breeding colonies of Europoort, Rotterdam.
1cy argenteus in November, ringed in Belgium. (25637 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis 20cy TA (formerly T 4), the Netherlands. Picture: Pim Wolf & Evert Eijkelenboom.
2cy michahellis in August, ringed in Switzerland.Yellow-legged Gull michahellis 6CY S0AC April 18-21 2011, Baška, Krk island, Croatia. Picture: Wolfgang Schweighofer.
2cy michahellis in August, ringed in Switzerland.presumed hybrid Yellow-legged Gull michahellis x Herring Gull argenteus 9.8 adult, March 2014 - April 2015, Maasvlakte, the Netherlands. Picture: Merijn Loeve.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull lusitanius adult, April 24 2008, Sintra, Portugal. Photo: António A. Gonçalves. Attempt for mixed breeding in Portugal.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis type adult, April 05 2014, Sevastopol, Crimea, Black Sea. Picture: Vitaly Giragosov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult male, April 16 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult male, April & May 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
Mixed pair of michahellis x armenicus.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis / armenicus female, April 25 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
Mixed pair of michahellis x armenicus hybrid?
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 16 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 25 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 16 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 16 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 16 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 16 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 25 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 25 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 25 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 25 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 02 2011, Ashdod, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 08 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April & June 2013, Tel Aviv - University Zool. Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, nest locations, 2010, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
sub-adult michahellis Yellow-legged Gull in June. (23362 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 03 2006, Portalban, Switzerland. Picture: Stephane Aubry.
adult michahellis in July. (62792 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull lusitanius adult, April 16 2011, Gijon, Spain. Photo: Iván Díaz Pallarés.
adult michahellis in July. (62792 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 24 2012, Leucate, Langedoc-Roussillon, France. Photo: Mark Nollet.
adult michahellis in July. (62792 bytes)Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 18 2014, Gibraltar, UK. Picture: Jebel50.
2cy michahellis in August, ringed in Switzerland.Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult female, April 18 2011, Baška, Krk island, Croatia. Picture: Wolfgang Schweighofer.
Yellow-legged Gull michahellis adult, April 09 2013, El Remo, Spain. Picture: Iman Heijboer.