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yellow-legged gull with pink legs ? (1 Viewer)


the two attached pictures were taken in Cudillero, Asturias, northern Spain in the second half of august

the first one is i think fairly typical of a yellow-legged gull, and as far as i can tell so were all other adult gulls

so you would expect the juveniles to be yellow-legged gulls as well, except that the one in the second picture has pink legs

so this leaves two possibilities : either young yellow-legged gulls start off with pink legs which later on turn yellow, or for some reason all the juveniles i saw were herring gulls and the adults yellow-legged ones

both options seems somewhat surprising, so which of the two is it ?


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oh well, at least i wasn't seeing ghosts !
thanks for that info, i suspected that must be the case but wasn't sure whether it really happened like that


Well-known member
"young yellow-legged gulls start off with pink legs which later on turn yellow"

This is true of most species of gulls with yellow legs as adults, including Lesser Black-backed Gulls as well as "Yellow-legged" as in L. michahellis. I believe the yellow is a sign of breeding condition due to sex hormones and brighter yellow legs signal to other gulls higher fertility and thus a desirable mate - though I don't know where that leaves species like Herring Gulls and GBBs that have pink legs as adults! Though I know that LBBGs often have duller/paler legs outside the breeding season...

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