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Yellow-legged Gull

Yellow-legged Gull
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-02-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/11, 1/500 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-03-07 6:44
Viewed: 2666
Points: 64
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This photo is taken in Reserva Natural da Rio de Alvor near Portimâo in the Algarves, Portugal.

The Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis), sometimes referred to as Western Yellow-legged Gull (to distinguish it from eastern populations of yellow-legged large white-headed gulls), is a large gull of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, which has only recently achieved wide recognition as a distinct species. It was formerly treated as a subspecies of either the Caspian Gull L. cachinnans, or more broadly as a subspecies of the Herring Gull L. argentatus. It is named after the German zoologist Karl Michahelles.

It is now generally accepted that the Yellow-legged Gull is a full species, but until recently there was much disagreement. For example, British Birds magazine split Yellow-legged Gull from Herring Gull in 1993 but included the Caspian Gull in the former, but the BOU in Great Britain retained the Yellow-legged Gull as a subspecies of the Herring Gull until 2007. DNA research however suggests that Yellow-legged Gull is actually closest to Great Black-backed Gull L. marinus and Armenian Gull L. armenicus, while Caspian Gull is closer to Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus, rather than being each other's closest relatives.

There are two subspecies of the Yellow-legged Gull:
• Larus michahellis michahellis Naumann, 1840. Mediterranean.
• Larus michahellis atlantis (Dwight, 1922), syn. Larus fuscus atlantis Dwight, 1922. Macaronesia (Canary Islands, Madeira, Azores). Birds breeding on the Atlantic coasts of Morocco, Portugal and Galicia (and spreading north from there) are usually also included here, but are sometimes considered to be a third subspecies L. m. lusitanius. Atlantic Ocean birds have darker wings and back by comparison with Mediterranean birds, creating a more pronounced contrast to the white parts.

The breeding range is centred around the Mediterranean Sea. In North Africa it is common in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and increasing in places. Recent breeding has occurred in Libya and Egypt. In the Middle East a few breed in Israel and Syria with larger numbers in Cyprus and Turkey. In Europe there are colonies all along the Mediterranean coast, and also on the Atlantic islands and coasts north to Brittany and west to the Azores. It also breeds on the west side of the Black Sea; here it overlaps with the Caspian Gull but there is a difference in habitat, with the Yellow-legged Gull preferring sea cliffs and Caspian Gull on flatter shores. In recent decades birds have spread north into central and western Europe.

Many birds remain in the same area all year round but others migrate to spend the winter in mild areas of western Europe or head south as far as Senegal, the Gambia and the Red Sea. There is also extensive northward post-breeding dispersal in the late summer, with numbers in southern England high from July to October. It is reported as a vagrant to northeastern North America and Nigeria.

Adults are similar to Herring Gulls but have yellow legs. They have a grey back, slightly darker than Herring Gulls but lighter than Lesser Black-backed Gulls. They are much whiter-headed in autumn, and have more extensively black wing tips with few white spots, just as Lesser Black-backed. They have a red spot on the bill as adults, like the entire complex. There is a red ring around the eye like in the Lesser Black-backed Gull but unlike in the Herring Gull which has a dark yellow ring.

First-year birds have a paler head, rump and underparts than those of the Herring Gull, more closely resembling first-year Great Black-backed Gulls in plumage. They have a dark bill and eyes, pinkish grey legs, dark flight feathers and a well-defined black band on the tail. They become lighter in the underparts and lose the upperpart pattern subsequently. By their second winter, birds are essentially feathered like adults, save for the patterned feathers remaining on the wing coverts. However, their bill tips are black, their eyes still dark, and the legs are a light yellow flesh colour.
The call is a loud laugh which is deeper and more nasal than the call of the Herring Gull.

They are omnivores like most Larus gulls, and they will scavenge on rubbish tips and elsewhere, as well as seeking suitable prey in fields or on the coast, or robbing smaller gulls and other seabirds of their catches.

Yellow-legged Gulls usually breed in colonies. Eggs, usually three, are laid from mid March to early May and are defended vigorously by this large gull. The nest is a sometimes sparse mound of vegetation built on the ground or on cliff ledges. In some places such as Gibraltar they have started nesting on buildings. The eggs are incubated for 27–31 days and the young birds fledge after 35–40 days.

Source: Wikipedia

marius-secan, maaciejka, cobra112, jurek1951, pegos, nicozanghi, semprempe, CeltickRanger, josediogo1958, PaulLees, Pitoncle, Miss_Piggy, vanda, Hormon_Manyer, jusninasirun has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter,
Another masterpiece....splendid capture with exceptional details.
Outstanding contrast against the blue sky. Wonderful.....
The composition, the light and exposure are perfect.
Thanks for sharing!

simply great picture...........

Hallo Peter,
'n Werklik uitstaande foto en sekerlik sal dit nie maklik wees on jou dit na te doen nie. Suiwer genot om te aanskou en 'n insiggewende meegaande nota. Beste groete.

Hello Peter,
Nice compozition with perfect detail.Excellent light with even illumination and wonderful colours and impressive sharpness.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Zeno Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1345] (10867)
  • [2012-03-07 7:33]

Dag Peter,

Mooie scherpe inflight opname. De diagonale lijnen en de blauwe lucht voegen veel toe.


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2012-03-07 8:03]

Hi Peter,magnificent capture in the best wings position as possible,great contrast whit the blue sky and excellents details too.Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

Hi Peter,
perfect photo of this bird in flight. Excellent sharpness and details. Beautiful blue sky as a background,
thanks for sharing,

hallo Peter
super mooie meeuw zo tegen de super blauwe lucht
goed van scherpte en veel details
bedankt groetjes lou

Ciao Ivan. Interesting frontal POV MF. Good light's management indeed against the bright blue.


amazing shot, this picture bring me back to the summer days on the Adriatic Coast,

un saluto,tino

Hi Peter,
Wonderfil in-flight shot. The effect of the backlight is marvellous and excellent focus. Nice colours, sharp details and great POV. The blue sky as BG looks superb,

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2012-03-07 12:34]

Hello Peter,
Very nice in flight of this gull against a lovely blue sky. Good focus and exposure make this a very plesant image, thanks for sharing.Best regards Siggi

Ciao Peter, lovely flying gull on a fantastic blue sky, great capture with perfect focus, fine details, wonderful natural colors and splendid sharpness, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • pegos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 0 N: 356] (1982)
  • [2012-03-07 13:14]

Hello Peter,
splendid image with great timing and excellent sharpness; beautiful lightness and POV; very nice contrast with the blue sky. Very well done!
Thanks for sharing

Ciao Peter
Splendida foto di gabbiano in volo, ottima nitidezza e belli i dettagli. Bello anche lo sfondo blu complimenti.
Ciao Nico

Hello Peter,
Excellent photography. excellent sharpness, contrast and POV.
Beautiful seagull stands out in the blue sky.
Hello Vanni

Hello Peter
Magnificent photo!
Yes! That's an Algarve sky!
Perfect colour
Thanks for sharing


Hello Peter

Excellent in-flight shot with fine POV and the
way it is framed, excellent light and contrast,
excellent focus sharpness and details, TFS


Beautiful photo Peter! Very good composition and good sharpness. The colours are fantastic!

Bom dia Peter
Great in flight shot.Sharp and clear picture,wonderful colors and lighting.Amazing details.Well done!
Thank You.
Best regards

Hello Peter,
Beautiful in flight shot of this seagull!!! Excellent contrast whit the portuguese blue sky and excellents details. :))
Have a nice day.
Regards, João Edgar

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2012-03-08 7:05]

Great pose by this lovely species and beautifully captured against bright blue sky. tfs.

Hi Peter, Wow what superb timing here my good friend, fabulous lighting with lovely natural colours, good POV and what a splendid angled head position hmmm eye-catching hey, nice and sharp with good detail for an in-flight take, excellent work here Peter and very well done,
Best Regards,


Bonjour Peter,
Très belle attitude du sujet saisie à l'instant décisif avec une formidable opposition sur l'arrière plan.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Hello Peter,
Great action picture. Perfect focus and the harsh light is well managed. Very well done.

Hallo Peter
I cannot remember what I said about this photo before my critique was erased, but what I can tell you is that this is a beautiful bird that displays beautifully against the lovely blue sky. The black on the tips of its mainly white coloured feathers is striking. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

  • Great 
  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2012-03-13 14:21]

Hi Peter!
What a lovely composition! I like the great contrast against the blue sky as BG and the pleasant play of shadows on the bird. Excellent sharpness and great details.
Very well done my friend.
Ciao! Vanda

Lovely Composition , the position of wings , the head and the directional space make this a very good image. Congrats
Goutham R

Hi Peter,
Beautiful, minimalistic action shot with unbelievable color contrast. Well visible details, mostly on the right wing, and a delightful capture overall. Bravo.
Best regards, László

Hello Peter.
This is an amazing in flight capture against the spotless blue sky. The details of the white plume is well seen in pleasing balanced framing.
Kind regards.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2012-04-11 22:16]

Hello Peter,
the intense blue sky really gives a good view to your existing beauty of this white gull. The pose of the head is so pleasant and stylish.
All these render your shot into a splendid work and presentation.


Hello Peter,
Wonderful in-flight capture with nice clarity,lovely light and exposure,beautiful expressive gliding pose.
My regards,

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