Mediterranean Gull (L. melanocephalus)

(last update: June 11, 2012 )

Mediterranean Gull 2CY ZTY1 July 20 2014, Le Portel, NW France. Picture: Jean-Michel Sauvage.

Red ZTY1, ringed as pullus on June 06 2013 at Melcina Fishpond, Karvina, Czechia (49.52N 18.33E).

Observed in Portugal last winter, wintering at 2314 KM from the breeding site. (

06.06.2013 Melcina Fishpond; Karvina, Czechia 49.52N 18.33E
27/02/2014 à Azurara-Villa-Portugal do Conde, Portugal
05/03/2014 à Azurara-Villa-Portugal do Conde, Portugal
14/05/2014 à Marais de Saint Lasné, Morbihan, France
20/07/2014 à Boulogne-sur-mer harbour, Pas-de-Calais, France

By late June many birds (1500+) congregate again at Le Portel, and the first juveniles for the new season arrive as well.

From May to September, the first complete moult takes place, into so-called "second winter" plumage. The head pattern resembles the pattern in first winter birds, with a blackish mask behind the eye. The mantle, scapulars, tertials and all wing-coverts are replaced with plain pearl-grey feathers. The secondaries are as in adult birds, pale grey with a white tip. The second generation primaries are much paler than the first juvenile primaries, but still not nearly all-white as in adults. After finishing this complete moult a 2cy Mediterranean Gull in autumn has a diagnostic wing-tip pattern with a variable amount of 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" the white along the edge of the outer-web, most prominent on P9-P10. In some birds, the outer greater primary coverts and rarely the alula 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. As with 2cy birds there is individual variation in this age group but it is less pronounced and mostly involves the amount of black in the outer primaries and the colour of the bill.