How to identify

The Yellow-legged Gull has only recently been recognised as a species in its own right, having previously been considered to be a race of Herring Gull. Adults have darker grey backs and wings than Herring Gulls, but are paler than Lesser Black-backed Gulls. They have more black in the wing tips than Herring Gulls and smaller white 'mirrors'. The legs are bright yellow, there is a red ring around the eye and the bill is yellow with a large red spot. In non-breeding plumage, the head is less streaked and whiter than Herring Gulls. Juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls are very similar to juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls, but tend to be whiter-headed and start to gain a grey 'saddle' on their backs quickly as they moult to their first winter plumage. Immature birds gain adult-like characteristics as they mature over the course of five years with the legs turning yellow and dark grey feathers replacing the brown and black immature feathers.


  1. Resident
  2. Passage
  3. Summer
  4. Winter
* This map is intended as a guide. It shows general distribution rather than detailed, localised populations.
  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

Key facts

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