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Gull with yellow legs, Scotland (1 Viewer)

Stonefaction

Stuck in Dundee.....
Scotland
Saw this slightly odd looking gull at Arbroath, Scotland on Sunday. It looked just slightly smaller than the Herring Gulls it was stood beside but wasn't nearly as dark as a nearby Lesser Black Backed Gull though it did have yellow legs. Any ideas as to what it is/definitely isn't?

First 4 photos show the bird in question. 5th pic shows a nearby 'normal looking' Lesser Black Backed Gull to compare mantle shade.
 

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rollingthunder

Well-known member
It looks like an adult Lesser BB with its Winter-head plumage. It is slightly smaller than the adjacent Herring which they are. Yellow-legged are are more ‘brutish’ looking and usually sport a bill to match. Adult YLG often show a White head in the Winter not the streaky-Brown of others.

That is my collected thoughts fwiw:t:

Laurie -
 

smiths

Well-known member
Certainly no Lesser Black-backed Gull, since upperparts are too pale and too bluish.
It is either a hybrid (e.g. LBB x Herring Gull) or, perhaps, a West Iberian/Portuguese type of Yellow-legged Gull.
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
In Dundee?

It is obviously a very overcast day - i.e what they call a normal one in Dundee.

If i was walking past i would dismiss it as an LBB on size, structure and plumage but we shall have to agree to disagree:t:

Laurie -
 

Stonefaction

Stuck in Dundee.....
Scotland
Thanks, Smiths. I suspect a hybrid is more likely, but I did have a look at Azorean Yellow Legged Gull which is smaller than Herring Gull - wasn't sure about other YLG races though. I knew that Yellow Legged Gull is usually quite a big gull, but not all races are. "Omissus" Herring Gull has also been suggested as a bird to be considered - and the mantle shade is perhaps closer to Argentatus HG than to LBBG, though this bird was more obvious than the Argentatus HG that show up at a local pond in winter.

Nutcracker - Thanks. I deliberately left the exposure(s) unaltered, so that all photos were taken under the same conditions. It was very overcast and rather gloomy at the time.

Laurie - if it is a LBBG then it is a very pale individual -as can be seen compared to the LBBG that was nearby in the other pic. I did find 1 photo on Gull Research Organisation webpage of a LBBG that had a broadly similar shade in September - though photographed in strong sunlight in Portugal (feathers bleached by sun?). Despite Dundee being Scotland's sunniest city, I don't think we get strong enough sunshine in this area to bleach LBBG feathers to the same extent as they get in Portugal.

Pic 1 is perhaps a better photo than the originally posted ones, and the 2nd pic is the nearby Lesser Black Backed Gull showing the difference in mantle shade.
 

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Stonefaction

Stuck in Dundee.....
Scotland
A few more flight/open wing shots.
 

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smiths

Well-known member
The contrast between black outer primaries and pale underwing is far too strong for any Lesser Black-backed Gull, that is for sure.
 

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Dean Nicholson

Cloacal Protuberant.
I agree the subject bird is not a LBB, not even a pale end graellsii.... It is rather michy but for small size which could be explained away by being a small female but with the relatively well streaked head i would be pushed down the hybrid route.... I've seen several presumed LBB x Herring's like this over the years - a bit like the attached one from Scarborough a couple of winters ago - also quite small compared to surrounding HG's. Out of focus pic included to show mantle tone compared with argenteus HG.
 

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Stonefaction

Stuck in Dundee.....
Scotland
Thanks, Dean. It looks like it is between a hybrid HG x LBBG and perhaps a Lusitanus(-type) YLG, which are apparently smaller and do have some head streaking (the bird's streaking does appear to be limited to a BHG hood shaped pattern though this could be only partial plumage). There is a small black mark on what I assume id P5 which I think tallies for YLG, but I don't know if it rules out a hybrid HG x LBBG. The primary moult is also making it difficult to envisage just what the wingtip pattern should look like. Given the location alone a hybrid is the likelier option, though recent winds have been from far to the southwest so.....

(One difference I notice between your bird and mine is the full white tip to P10 on yours).
 

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