Mediterranean Gull (L. melanocephalus)

(last update: June 11, 2012 )

Mediterranean Gull 2cy 8S7 March 06 2010, Le Portel / Boulogne-sur-Mer, NW France. Picture: Jean-Michel Sauvage.

8S7 green, ringed as pullus in NW France at Conchil le Temple, Pas-de-Calais on 12 June 2009. Has spent most of the winter at Le Portel.

Spring 2cy Mediterranean Gull have a partial moult, from February to April, which includes body and head resulting in a so-called "first summer" plumage. Most noticeable is the replacement of head feathers: the head becomes much darker with some birds developing a full hood, but many only have some black flecking. The remiges and rectrices remain juvenile and by April have become bleached and abraded. Some individuals include inner wing-coverts in this partial moult, but the juvenile outer wing-coverts are retained and therefore very abraded. The colour of bare parts become more adult-like, with the bill-base turning paler red-orange. Most birds have extensive black on the bill tip, most prominent on the lower mandible. This is the most variable plumage in Med Gull since the appearance of 2cy birds depends on the combination of the extent of the post-juvenile moult, and bleaching and wear in the winter quarters.