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Yellow legs and a yellow bill!

Yellow legged gulls (Larus michahellis) at Cabo de Bares in Galicia, NW Spain.
Yellow legged gulls (Larus michahellis) at Cabo de Bares in Galicia, NW Spain.

Yellow-legged gulls (YLG) have probably been around for quite a long time, but they have only recently been recognised by us humans as deserving a species of their own!  Larus michahellis.   Not being an expert birder, they look to me like Herring gulls with yellow legs, but watch out because 1st year birds can have rather pink legs, just like Herring gulls!  They were originally considered to be a race of Herring Gull.  I see them regularly in Galicia, N W Spain, which probably means that these are the Atlantic subspecies of YLG, but I leave that to the experts.  They are however, a beautiful gull, especially the adults with their bright yellow legs, bright yellow bills with a large red dot (for pecking!) and beautiful grey backs.  These photos were taken on 8th October at a northerly point called Cabo (or Cape) de Bares, which is a good sea-bird watching point.  Having said that, I seem to be the only one watching sea birds whenever I go there! These photographs show some birds entering their 1st, 2nd and 3rd winters, as well an adult with an all white head.

Yellow legged gulls (Larus michahellis) of various ages.
Yellow legged gulls (Larus michahellis) of various ages.

rcannon992 View All

I am a retired entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.

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