Yellow-legged GullLarus michahellis

adult, breeding
George L. Armistead/VIREO
adult, breeding
Marvin R. Hyett, M.D./VIREO


Long considered just a yellow-legged race of the Herring Gull, this form was recently recognized as a full species. Native to southern Europe, it has strayed very rarely to eastern North America.


flock calls

Similar Species

breeding adult withnestling

Herring Gull

Large, abundant, and widespread, the Herring Gull is among the most familiar members of its family, especially in the northeast. It has been extending its range toward the south along the Atlantic Coast in recent decades. In the west, where there are several similar large gulls, no such range expansion seems to be taking place.

adult, nonbreeding

Iceland Gull

A pale northern gull, about the size of Herring Gull but more graceful and maneuverable in flight. Despite its name, it occurs in Iceland only during the winter. The typical white-winged form nests only in Greenland, while the "Kumlien's" form, with gray in the wingtips, nests in northeastern Canada. Very closely related to Thayer's Gull, and probably should be considered the same species. The "Kumlien's" form seems to intergrade with Thayer's where their nesting ranges come in contact in the Baffin Island region of Arctic Canada.

adult, breeding, long-calling

Western Gull

The only gull nesting along most of the Pacific Coast from Washington to Baja, this large species is common at all seasons. An opportunist, it often nests around colonies of other seabirds, where it can steal unguarded eggs or chicks. It will also nest near colonies of California sea lions, scavenging any sea lion pups that die of natural causes. At the northern end of its range it hybridizes with Glaucous-winged Gull, and many intermediate birds are seen.


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