Yellow-legged GullLarus michahellis

adult, breeding
George L. Armistead/VIREO
adult, breeding
Marvin R. Hyett, M.D./VIREO
Yellow-legged Gull


25" (64 cm). A large gull. Similar to Herring Gull. Adult white with gray back and wings (darker than Herring, lighter than Lesser Black-backed); bold, broad black area at end of wing, with limited white spotting toward very tip of wing. Bill bright yellow with red spot on lower mandible (sometimes extending onto maxilla). Legs and feet yellow. Acquires adult plumage in three years.


A deep, strident kyow.


flock calls


Beaches, shorelines.


Eurasia; infrequent visitor to Atlantic Coast, recorded from Newfoundland to North Carolina.


The Yellow-legged Gull is very similar to the Herring Gull, which is much more common and widespread in North America. The Yellow-legged has several subspecies, including the Caspian Gull (L. c. cachinnans).

Similar Species

breeding adult withnestling

Herring Gull

23-26" (58-66 cm). Adult white with light gray back and wings; wing tip black with white spots; bill yellow with red spot on lower mandible; feet pink or flesh colored. First-year birds brownish.

adult, nonbreeding

Iceland Gull

23" (58 cm). A smaller version of the Glaucous Gull, with relatively smaller bill and rounded head.

adult, breeding, long-calling

Western Gull

24-27" (61-69 cm). Snow white, with dark slate-colored back and wings. Yellow eye and bill; breeding adult has a red dot near tip of lower mandible. Pinkish or flesh-colored feet.


iPad Promo