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, Le Portel / Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,01.34E).

2CY michahellis which has replaced the head, neck, breast and flanks to second generation in the first pre-basic moult. It also included some wing-coverts and tertials in this moult: In the right wing, tertials #1-3, greater coverts #1-4, median coverts #1-13, lower lesser coverts #1-14 and about 20 lesser coverts are second generation as well, with still active moult in progress in the lesser coverts. The last moulted feathers show broad fringes. The other wing-coverts, the tail feathers and flight-feathers are still juvenile.
The lowest row of scapulars are fresh second generation feathers with a buffish base and neat fringes on the last replaced feathers. About seven upper scapulars have been replaced recently for buffish-centred third generation feather. In 2CY michahellis it's common to find birds starting 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.