Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis

Once treated as a race of Herring Gull Larus argentatus and not to be confused with yellow-legged forms of Herring Gull, this species is now reasonably easy to find in Norfolk. Most records are from coastal sites, rubbish dumps or pig fields but a careful search through any large gathering of Lesser Black-backed Gull has a good chance of turning up one or more. They aren't always with Lesser Black-backed Gulls and once or twice I have turned up to a site where a single Yellow-legged Gull has been the only gull present.

A small number of pairs now breed in the UK (sometimes mixed pairs), mainly on the south coast, but this species is the most abundant large gull breeding in southern Europe.

I am a long way from mastering gull identification and I often struggle to confidently identify Yellow-legged Gulls, especially younger ones. I have only included photos where I am reasonably certain but it is plausible that the odd mistake may have crept in - if you think I have misidentified any then please get in touch.

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Ebro Delta (Cataluña, Spain), 20th May 2013

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Camargue (Bouche-du-Rhone, France), 1st May 1999

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Camargue (Bouche-du-Rhone, France), 30th May 2000

 

Yellow-legged Gull, Camargue (Bouche-du-Rhone, France), 1st May 1999

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Capo Caccia (Sardinia, Italy), 13th April 2008

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Ebro Delta (Cataluña, Spain), 20th May 2013

 

Yellow-legged Gull, Etang d'Urbino (Corsica, France), 16th April 2008

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 30th July 2010

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Portopal di Capo Passero (Sicily, Italy), 1st May 2012

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image  

Yellow-legged Gulls, from pelagic boat trip south of Saintes Maries de la Mer (Bouche du Rhone, France), 2nd May 1999

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Santa Teresa (Sardinia, Italy), 18th April 2008

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 30th July 2010 - top left bird is probably the same individual as in the set above; the other three photos show a different individual

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Tattersett (Norfolk, UK), 16th July 2004

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 3rd August 2011

 

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 3rd September 2008

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 4th August 2008

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 5th August 2008 - top left photo shows one individual, other photos show 3 different individuals (all together in lower right, with a Lesser Black-backed Gull)

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 5th August 2008 - top left photo shows one individual, other photos show a different individual (both are different from the four shown in the set above)

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 5th August 2011

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 5th August 2011 - flapping bird top left is a different bird to the one shown in the other three photos; both are different to the individual shown in the set above and the one in the pair of photos below

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 5th August 2011

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 10th August 2011

 

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 5th August 2011 - another different individuals from the others shown here from the same date/place

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 10th August 2011 - same individual shown above

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 13th September 2011

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 13th September 2011 - different individual from the two shown above

 

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 11th September 2008

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 15th September 2010

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull(s), Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 16th August 2011- I think these are probably both Yellow-legged Gulls - let me know what you think?

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 15th September 2010

 

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 17th August 2010

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 31st August 2010

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 17th August 2010

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 19th August 2010

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 19th August 2010 - top left bird is the same individual as in the set above; the rest are all different birds with the possible exception of one of the two in the bottom right photo

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 20th September 2010

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 20th September 2010 - different birds from the one shown in the pair of photos above and also different from the one in the set below

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 20th September 2010

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 24th August 2010

 

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 26th August 2008

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 28th August 2008 - two or three different individuals

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image  

Yellow-legged Gull (with Lesser Black-backed Gull), Cley (Norfolk, UK), 18th August 2013

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Cley (Norfolk, UK), 30th May 2004

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, East Rudham (Norfolk, UK), 23rd July 2004

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Bylaugh (Norfolk, UK), 6th September 2008

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls (with Lesser Black-backed Gulls), Bylaugh (Norfolk, UK), 6th September 2008

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 27th October 2008 - the bird in the lower right image was believed to be a different individual from the one shown in the other five photos

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gulls, Titchwell (Norfolk, UK), 23rd October 2009

 

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Rainham Marsh (Norfolk, UK), 15th January 2011

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull (with Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls), Rainham Marsh (Essex, UK), 15th January 2011

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Cromer (Norfolk, UK), 4th September 2014

 

click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, Portopal di Capo Passero (Sicily, Italy), 3rd May 2012 - I picked this up flying in from the sea a great distance away and noticed it was flying strangely - through the telescope I could just make out that it was chasing something small, which I initially assumed to be a bird; eventually I worked out that it must be a Bat, presumably a migrant species? Unfortunately it never came close!

 

click for larger image click for larger image

Yellow-legged Gull, La Crau (Bouche du Rhone, France), 10th September 2002

 

Yellow-legged Gull, Houghton (Norfolk, UK), 7th August 2014

 

The Azorean form atlantis is sometimes treated as a distinct species (sometimes called Azorean Gull or Atlantic Gull) and individuals resembling this form occasionally appear in the UK. One such bird appears below, poorly photographed due to the distance.

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image  

apparent Azorean Yellow-legged Gull (form atlantis), Sennen Cove (Cornwall, UK), 17th October 2010

 

Another bird that resembled atlantis wintered in Hyde Park, London one year but one or two features typically shown by atlantis were missing and this bird was considered more likely to be a hybrid, or perhaps a Yellow-legged Gull from one of the other Atlantic island populations. One possibility is that it was a hybrid (or intergrade) between Azorean atlantis and one of the other Yellow-legged Gull forms.

click for larger image click for larger image
click for larger image click for larger image

possible Azorean Yellow-legged Gull (form atlantis), or other Atlantic form of Yellow-legged Gull, or intergrade, Hyde Park (Greater London, UK), 16th December 2006