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Yellow-legged Gull michahellis 2cy, November 15 2003, Westkapelle,
the Netherlands (51.33N-03.25E).
All summer, 2cy michahellis are in
a complete moult, replacing all feathers, which eventually will bring
birds in so-called "second winter" plumage by October. After
completion, the head will show limited neat fine streaking and the
under-parts and rump turn pale, with some mottled brown at the flanks.
From early April, the inner primaries are shed and new second generation
primaries grown in. On average, 2cy michahellis shed the last
juvenile primary (P10) by the first week of August. The majority of michahellis
complete the primary moult by the first week of October, when the new
second generation P10 is fully grown. The new primaries are dark with a
tiny pale tip on the fresh flight-feathers. In michahellis, second
generation primaries show some contrast between outer and inner primaries:
the three inner primaries show a pale inner-web and brownish outer-web
(the black shaft-streak well visible), while the outer primaries have the
outer-web blackish brown and the pale greyish brown inner-web still
visible at P7.
The under-wing is largely pale with brown lesser under-wing coverts and
brown lines running over the tips of the median coverts. The second
generation tail-feathers show a clear-cut wedge-shaped blackish tail-band
with only isolated blackish markings on the white basal half of the
central rectrices. The outer tail-feathers normally show no isolated black
markings and in general the outer-webs are often clean white except the
sub-terminal band. The rump is largely white. The iris is pale brown. The
bill shows a pale pinkish base and often the very tip is translucent
white. The legs are salmon-pink with a yellow hue.
At the end of the complete moult, a partial moult takes place in September
and October. In this partial moult, 2cy birds normally include some
feathers, which were replaced first in line in the complete moult of last
summer (in May): upper tertials, median coverts, inner greater coverts and
randomly some lower lesser coverts.
The image below shows an advanced bird in
November, more adult-like than average. The head and under-parts are
largely white and the bare parts look more mature as well. Primary P10 is fully grown and all the
secondaries and rectrices are second generation and complete. Hence, the
complete moult has ended, as can be seen in most late-September 2cy michahellis. After this complete moult, a partial moult has
included two upper tertials and wing-coverts. Most of the scapulars are grey.