Yellow-legged Gull: first winter

with white(ish) underwings

by Chris Gibbins

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I thought Birding Frontiers readers might be interested in this one. I saw this first winter Yellow-legged Gull (michahellis) last week (mid October) in Spain.  Normal YLG other than exceptionally pale underwing.  I think many YLGs moult underwing coverts as part of the partial post juvenile moult and so some can grow in some very white second generation feathers – so such birds, perhaps like this individual, have something of a Caspian Gull pitfall if you only get flight views….

This is the palest I’ve seen so far (though notice that the longest auxiliaries are still heavily blotched). For more typical underwing go here

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