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YL Gull or Herring Gull, UK (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
I think this may well be a 2cy YL Gull but again I've got some doubts.

Pro features:
White head and belly
Coverts fairly unmarked brown
New feathers coming through in coverts (not sure if this is happening with Herring Gulls now also, given we are into Feb now. The Herring Gulls appear to still look a lot more neat at the moment).
Generally very worn
Primary window present but inner webs are pale.
Distinct tail band

The bird's tail (whilst quite contrasting) does have a lot of markings. Also the primary window seems quite pronounced. Both of these features may be better for Herring Gull.


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Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Not a definitive answer, but I just want bump this post up, because its one those, where I hoped for an answer, so I can learn.

I agree with you, that extent and size of dark markings in tail and uppertail coverts are rather to extensive for most YLG. It would surely stand out in a flock of YLG in SW-Germany by this.
Also pale inner primaries are to obvious, and contrasting for most YLG. When looked at these picture on a whiteboard, I got the impression of a venetian-blind window, ghosting a good one for a Caspian Gull.
Shape of this gull looks bulky and compact with short legs.

Conclusion? When looked at this for the first, I thought: why not a Herring x Caspian Gull? So I hoped for others to jump in, and I am still hoping ....


Well-known member
I would call this a Herring Gull for pretty much the same reasons that you guys have already flagged, above.

2cy YLG stands out in a flock of gulls coming to bread locally as there is much more contrast due to the blacker tail band, secondaries, primaries etc especially as the inner primaries are darker than those of a Herring too.

At this time of year (Xmas onwards), Herring can look more white headed etc due to wear.

However, I'm not sure if this bird hasn't got some 2nd generation wing coverts. If it has, this is almost unheard of in Herring before Xmas and still very rare even up to Easter.

lou salomon

the birdonist
not an easy 2cy gull since it looks somewhat intermediate. still, doesn't give the impression of a 'cactus' (cachinnans x argentatus) but more like a slightly retarded michahellis. i wouldn't worry about the apparently strong window since all juvenile feathers now are a bit bleached. but outer webs to inner primaries still are darker on most of their surface (venetian blind, as mentioned by alexander). tail pattern is strong but not impossible for a michahellis, tail band slightly tapering towards corners. in a cactus i'd expect more filigrane narrow median bands, similar to caspian gull. bill is weak for michahellis and quite pointed but in younger immatures not unusual to look like this. now, greater coverts are pretty typical for YLG with checkering only on inner ones and widely dark outers. mostly pale body and head also give the impression of michahellis. while i don't see replaced coverts, there seem to be missing quite a lot of them (GC, MC, see 3rd pic), which indicates the start of more extensive covert moult at this time - which indeed would be unusual for argentatus/-teus but more likely in YLG. so, with a slight feel of uncertainty i'd call this a 2cy YLG.

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