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 09 2003, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,01.34E).

2CY michahellis which has replaced the head, neck, breast, belly and flanks to second generation in the first pre-basic moult last autumn. It also included some wing-coverts in this moult. In the right wing all tertials are still juvenile, but greater coverts #1-3, median coverts #1-3, #8, lower lesser coverts #1, #3, #6, #8 and only one lesser covert are second generation as well. The other wing-coverts and the tail feathers are still juvenile.
The feathers in the lowest row of scapulars are fresh second generation feathers with an anchor pattern, a grey-buffish base and neat tips. At least six upper scapulars have been replaced recently for 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 and extending on the nape. In the hind-neck streaks are bolder and create a neck-collar. The dark bill starts to turn paler at the base by February.