Mediterranean Gull (L. melanocephalus)

(last update: 21-10-2005)

Mediterranean Gull 3cy, February 06 2003, Le Portel /Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,1.34E).

A 3cy Mediterranean Gull, together with several Black-headed Gulls (L. ridibundus). 

The black pattern in the outer primaries is diagnostic for "second winter" (3cy by February) Mediterranean Gull.

Normally, the bare part coloration is still not as intense coral red as in full adults. Here, the bill and legs are rather orange-red. 
In the previous year, from May to September, a complete moult took place, into so-called "second winter" plumage. The head pattern still resembles the pattern of so-called "first winter" birds, with a blackish mask behind the eye from September onwards. In some birds the mask is confined to a sole black spot on the rear ear-coverts. The mantle, scapulars, tertials and all the wing-coverts are replaced for plain pearl-grey feathers. The secondaries are completely white. The second generation primaries are pale pearly-grey, especially the inner primaries. In this 3cy Mediterranean Gull, the wing-tip pattern is diagnostic with black on P5-P10: P5 has only a small black sub-terminal spot, becoming gradually larger on the outer primaries as the black patch "eats up" along the edge of the outer-web, most prominent on P10, although P10 lacks the sub-terminal band. In some birds, the outer greater primary coverts may show dark markings as well. The bill is orangey-red with a dark sub-terminal band. The legs are dull red or more obvious orangey-red.