michahellis (Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull) in south west France -- First Impresions

The birds here were among 250 present in the Royan/Isle d'Oléron area on the Atlantic coast of south-west France in August 1991.

They meet the criteria for Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull of Garner & Quinn (1997). It is generally accepted that this population recently moved north from the Mediterranean to colonise the area (Yésou, 1991). The birds here may of course have come from populations further south. In any event they are not considered to be Atlantic Yellow-legged Gulls.

Differences between Mediterranean and Dark Atlantic Yellow-legged Gulls are given in the Dark Atlantic account.

The photographs show the large size and heavy build of the Mediterranean form with the angular (sometimes squarish) head shape, long legs and often a cold steel-grey mantle colour in the adults. The chests are very bold and protruding and the bills heavy and stubby. The shade of the mantle is thought to be slightly paler than that of the Dark Atlantic form but darker than that of argenteus seen in the same visit on the Atlantic coast of France.

The first-summers show pale heads with dark eye spot, all black bills, grey on scapulars and back, very mottled coverts, broad white tips to tertials and a reddish tinge, all features commonly found in Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull of this age.

Further interesting features of this form noted were:

Features not assessed personally were:

© Copyright Nick Rossiter 2000.

email: nick.rossiter1 at btinternet.com