Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis

(last update: May 16, 2011)


YLG 1cy May
YLG 1cy June
YLG 1cy July
YLG 1cy August
YLG 1cy September
YLG 1cy October
YLG 1cy November
YLG 1cy December

YLG 2cy January
YLG 2cy February
YLG 2cy March
YLG 2cy April
YLG 2cy May
YLG 2cy June
YLG 2cy July
YLG 2cy August
YLG 2cy September
YLG 2cy October
YLG 2cy November
YLG 2cy December

YLG 3cy January
YLG 3cy February
YLG 3cy March
YLG 3cy April
YLG 3cy May
YLG 3cy June
YLG 3cy July
YLG 3cy August
YLG 3cy September
YLG 3cy October
YLG 3cy November
YLG 3cy December

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YLG adult January
YLG adult February
YLG adult March
YLG adult April
YLG adult May
YLG adult June
YLG adult July
YLG adult August
YLG adult September
YLG adult October
YLG adult November
YLG adult December

This website deals with the Yellow-legged Gull taxon michahellis, which is a common migrant from July to December in NW Europe. After extensive expansion of the breeding population during the last three decades, it nowadays can be found breeding in Belgium, the Netherlands and Britain in mixed couples with both Herring Gull (argenteus) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (graellsii). There are subtle differences between the populations from the Mediterranean, Atlantic coast of Portugal and Morocco and from the islands in the Atlantic. Most pronounced differences can be found in the taxon atlantis, now regarded as full species by some authors.

L. michahellis: 3cy April

General description:

By April, 3cy michahellis show an almost similar plumage as 2cy October birds. There is hardly any additional moult in the wing-coverts, but in general the grey 'saddle' becomes more prominent. 3cy michahellis in spring typically has the bare part rich-coloured, i.e. deep yellow legs, pale iris, obvious yellow bill-base, red gonydeal spot, although often (semi) obscured by the black bill-band.

Moult stage and pace of remiges and rectrices:

By late-April, 3cy michahellis may show moult in the rectrices, a featured shared with 3cy LBBG in April. Primaries and secondaries are all presnt by April; the complete moult will start in May.

Timing and strategy of April moult

The complete moult will take all the summer months, in which 3cy michahellis will replace all the scapulars, wing-coverts, tertials and flight-feathers. This complete moult starts with dropping the innermost primaries, often from the second week of May onwards. By April, the partial spring moult just ends, leaving birds with clean white heads and rich-coloured bare parts. The last immature patterned scapulars have been replaced as well in the partial moult, now creating a complete grey saddle (mantle and scapulars), contrasting with the barred lesser coverts.


By April, only very few 3cy michahellis can be found along the coasts of SW Netherlands and NW France. The majority remains at lower latitudes. Those which are present at Etaples (about 5-10 individuals by April 30 2003), probably belong to michahellis from the colonies of Marseille and the Mediterranean coast.


No tables.


adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes) michahellis 3cy male, April 25 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov. Breeding.

adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes) michahellis 3cy, April 16 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
adult michahellis in April. (61415 bytes) michahellis 3cy, April 25 2011, Tel Aviv - University Garden, Israel. Picture: Amir Ben Dov.
3cy michahellis in April. (76178 bytes)michahellis 3cy, April 30 2003, Etaples, NW France (50.44N-01.35E).