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 17 2002, Etaples, NW France (50.42N,1.34E).

(lbbg 2CY & ylg 2CY)

These images are added to compare the moult stage between some michahellis and graellsii. Of course, both species show considerable individual variation in plumage, moult sequence and jizz. Nonetheless note the obvious differences in the images. These individuals represent a considerable number of 2CY birds (both birds may be regarded average):

  • the colour of the third generation scapulars, which can be found in the lower upper scapulars. They are plain grey with a pronounced dark shaft streak. These fetahers were moulted recently in both species. Michahellis is obviously paler grey in these third generation scapulars. As soon as these grey adult-like feathers appear identification is much easier.
  • the size: when standing next to each other, michahellis may appear about 20% bigger than graellsii and intermedius LBBG's. 
  • The head is almost white, but some michahellis may show streaking on the nape and around the eye by May. This individual has most of the outer median and lower lesser coverts shed. The upper tertials have been dropped as well.
  • the general appearance of graellsii is much darker than michahellis, with, on average, more streaking on the head and with dark brown greater and median coverts (unless heavily abraded and bleached), while michahellis has the under-parts mostly white and only limited streaking on flanks.
  • compare the colour of the legs (especially the tarsus) in the top image.

(lbbg 3CY, ylg 2CY & ylg 2CY)

(ylg 2CY)