Mediterranean Gull (L. melanocephalus)

(last update: 10-3-2008)

Mediterranean Gull juvenile August 03 2006, Le Portel /Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,1.34E).
Picture Edouard Dansette.

A fresh bird in nearly complete juvenile plumage from early August.

A flight shot of another typical juvenile at the start of its first partial moult. In flight note the contrasts in the wings especially between the darkbrown wingcoverts, the grey greater coverts and the black bar formed by the secondaries. The outer primaries are black but show grey on the inner web. The tailband is black and quite narrow with a broad white surround. The two outermost tailfeathers are mostly white. This tailband, together with the primary pattern, the pale grey greater coverts and the black bill exclude juvenile Common Gull. Note the reduced dark feathering on the breast-sides against a clear white background. This contrast is an indication that the moult of the body feathers is well underway. The head is moulting as well, it looks mostly white but you can still see many brown juvenile feathers and the dark “mask” still has to be moulted in. The centres of the scapulars and wing coverts are plain dark brown, most notable in the median and lower lesser coverts. Note that moult to second generation feathers is still very limited. The few newly grown mantle and scapular feathers are pale grey. There are a few outer median coverts missing in the right wing. The same feathers are still present and juvenile-types in the left wing so its not clear whether this is damage or moult.