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, May 04 2001, Etaples, NW France (50.42N,1.34E).

2CY michahellis with many third generation grey scapulars. Probably a male, with an almost marinus-like heavy bill. When adult-like grey feathers have been moulted in, michahellis is readably easy identified from argenteus / argentatus, but graellsii (and intermedius) may still be difficult to distinguish sometimes. As can be seen on quite some 2CY graellsii from the Netherlands, some LBBG's moult both scapulars and coverts to second generation feathers before departing to the wintering grounds (as michahellis). By May, LBBG's may show third generation feathers in the scapulars. Best clue for identification in these cases are pattern on the inner primaries and tail.
As can be found in quite some michahellis from early May, note the paler base of the bill in this individual. Here, the head is almost snow white, but some michahellis may show streaking on the nape and around the eye by May.