3cy Yellow-legged Gull – 20131008

This bird had me reaching for the books and it took me quite a while until I was able to age it.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

It’s a Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, but because of my lack of experience with sub-adults of this species, I couldn’t determine whether it was a 2nd- or 3rd-calendar year individual.

What confused me was the mixture of brown 2nd-calendar year-type feathers and the grey adult-type ones. I initially thought it had too much brown (especially in the tertials and greater coverts) to be a 3rd-calendar year gull but at the same time too much grey (inner primaries) and too much yellow in the bill and legs to be a second-calendar year bird.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

When looking for references, I was struggling to find photos on the Internet of similar looking birds. My main source gull-research.org unfortunately lacks photos of Yellow-legged Gulls showing open wings (time for a new project guys? ;-))  What I did found out though is that there are a lot of similarities between 3rd-calendar year birds and (advanced) looking 2nd-calendar years (2cy example 1, 2cy example 2, 2cy example 3).

I finally settled on this being a 3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull mainly based on the adult-looking inner primaries with white tips.

Here are some examples that inspired my decision: 3cy example 1, 3cy example 2, example 3.

So all in all a very educational bird for me. I was especially surprised to see black markings as far down as inner primary P3.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull. Barneveld waste dump, The Netherlands. 8 October 2013.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “3cy Yellow-legged Gull – 20131008

  1. Personally. I’d have gone for 3rd calendar year, just based upon the beak colour. But maybe that’s just me assuming too much…

    [Edit: moved videos to the Gull Videos. page]

  2. I’m probably wrong, but that was how I remember being told – just by people that I’ve spoken to about gulls in the past. If its beak’s turning yellow, then it’s probably in its 3rd year…

    Have you ever considered trying to get yourself a gull-friend like the guy in the video, by the way? 🙂

    • ID-ing gulls is a bit more complicated than that I’m afraid, it’s always best to use several characteristics considering the huge variety out there. There is always an exception to the rule so you can’t rely on just one feature…

      Oh, and I can’t have gulls as pets at the moment 😉

      • My father was telling me that there are two young gulls that regularly hang around near his workplace. I keep suggesting that he feeds them and tries to win their trust and get his own ‘window tappers’ – but he won’t, because he’s concerned that his co-workers will think that he’s crazy…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s