Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis

(last update: October 08 2013)

Delfín González
Gabriel Martín
Antonio Gutierrez
Amir Ben Dov
Mars Muusse

Yellow-legged Gull michahellis 2CY, February 06 2003, Etaples / Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,01.34E).

Typical 2CY michahellis which has moulted the head, neck, breast and flanks to second generation. It also included some wing-coverts in this moult: In the left wing, greater coverts #1-3, median coverts #1-3, #6 & #7, lower lesser coverts #1, #4-8 & #10 and five lesser coverts are second generation as well, with the last moulted feathers showing broad fringes. The other wing-coverts, the tail feathers and tertials are still juvenile.
The lowest row of lower scapulars are fresh second generation feathers with a grey base and neat fringes on the last replaced feathers. Several upper scapulars have been replaced recently for grey third generation feather. In 2CY michahellis it's common to find birds continuing to replace upper scapulars to third generation feathers while the rear lowest scapulars have only very recently been replaced for second generation feathers. By this stage, this individual shows first generation feathers (remiges, rectrices, most wing-coverts), second generation feathers (the head, body, most scapulars and some wing-coverts) and at the same time third generation feathers (a few lower upper scapulars).
Note that the head and neck are by no way pure white, with dark streaking concentrated around the eye which extends on the nape and a bolder streaked neck-collar. The dark bill starts to turn paler at the base.