Thursday, 5 August 2010

Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)

OTHER NAMES: Mediterranean Herring Gull
Latin Etymology:  Larus ("Gull") michahellis (after Dr. Karl W, Michahelles)
Adult Yellow-legged Gull (subspecies L. m. michahellis) at Rainham Marshes, London - September 2010

Featured subspecies: Larus michahellis michahellis 
Weight: 800-1500kg  /  Length: 52-58cm  /  Wingspan: 140-155cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Yellow-legged Gull is one of the more recent additions to the British list on the basis that it was only separated out from Herring Gull in recent memory. In appearance it resembles a Herring Gull with bright yellow legs rather than the Herrings Gull's normal pink. It also has prominent amounts of red around the eye. It is certainly one of the most difficult birds to separate out, and juveniles even more so lacking the yellow leg namesakes. The best bet if it doubt is to ask someone who might know at the site, or take a photo and stick it on a website where people might know. Yellow Legged Gulls are frequently mixed in with Herring and Lesser Black backed, and generally speaking the only way to find them is trawl through those birds until you get lucky. I would recommend looking at sites where you know them to be present to avoid a rather sisyphusian task otherwise.

Related Species:
Family: Laridae
Genus: Larus

Subspecies: L. m. michahellis, L. m. atlantis

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A recent colonist (1 pair) and scarce Wintering bird (approx. 1100 birds)
 - Seen at Rainham Marshes and Rutland Water
ITALY - Italian - Gabbiano Reale Zampegialle ("Seagull Royal Yellow Legs")
A rare breeder
 - SICILY 2018 TRIP - Seen from Syracuse and Capo Murro di Porco 


  1. Hi there - found you through 'nerd forum' - What a great idea to get pics of Britain's birds without using an SLR. I use a Fuji S8100 so know exactly where you're coming from.

    I can envisge you having problems with Storm and Leach's Petrels.
    If you're ever up this way give us a shout.
    Keep up the good work and good luck.



  2. Thanks!

    Yeah, the petrels are very distinctly on my mental "horrendous list" along with things like nightingale and quail - I've got a sneaking suspician will be amoung the very last things I left.

    Anyway, thanks again, if I'm out that way I'll let you know