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Re: 1st year yellow-legged gull vs herring and Larus cachinnans


In fact the situation is not so clear with these gulls. In central Mediterranean
and Western Europe most gulls could be identified  however if we start to move
more east north situation getting more and more complicated. In Poland we have
mixture populations of Herring, so called Baltic Herring (many show yellow legs)
and both White-headed Gulls (L. cachinnans cachinnans and L. (cachinnans)
michahellis)(it is german name, much better for these gulls than english one). So
in many places in Poland it is very hard to say what gull is that. Many  birds
show mixture characters nevertheless it is always pleasure to find "clear and
crisp" cachinnas or michahellis. In addition from north-east another species may
come (and it comes in good numbers to Finland and I believe to Poland as well) -
Larus (fuscus) heuglini which is superficial similar to western subspecies of
Lesser-black Backed Gull and thus not safely identified. There are a lot of
studies going on concerning these gulls in central, eastern and north-eastern
There is one more thing, Herring Gull (european one) is very, very variable
species especially in immature plumage which makes the problem very unclear in
many cases.
In my opinion the best papers about these gulls have been published in German
Limicola magazine and in Alula from Finland  http://www.alula.fi/


Bpworthing@aol.com wrote:

> For all you gull watchers, and dreamers out there, there is an excellent
> article on the web comparing 1st year plumages of these three taxa,
> Unfortunately it's in italian, but anyone with a smattering of latin or other
> romance language should be able to navigate most of it. The photos are very
> interesting, particularly the side by side comparison of nominate herring to
> yellow-legged gull.
> The site is http://www.ebnitalia.it/QB/ . The site title is Quaderni di
> Birdwatching ( Birdwatching notebooks), the official organ of the LIPU, the
> italian birdwatching group. On the home page click on "Anno III - numero 5 -
> aprile 2001. About half way down the content page is the article "Distinzione
> di Piumaggi sul Camppo, etc - by C. Catoni. Click on this, and at least enjoy
> the pictures.
>  Gabbiano reale mediterraneo = Yellow-legged gull
>  Gabbiano reale nordico = Herring Gull
>  Gabbiano reale del Caspio = Larus cachinnans.
> The discussed difference in shape (jiz) of Herring and Yellow-legged is real,
> not just an artifact of the side by side photo
> Pete Worthington, Simpsonville, SC
> .

Michal Skakuj  Ph.D.
4600 University Drive # 1312
Durham, NC 27707
phone, fax: (919) 402 9961