Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis)


French: Goéland leucophée German: Mittelmeermöwe Spanish: Gaviota patiamarilla

Larus Michahellis

J. F. Naumann

, 1840,

coast of Dalmatia


This species and L. armenicus have often been treated under L. argentatus (which see; for separation of armenicus) or, more recently, under L. cachinnans. Described form lusitanius (Atlantic coast from SE Bay of Biscay to SC Portugal) sometimes recognized#R#R, but generally included within nominate race. Specific name sometimes misspelt michahelles#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. m. atlantis Dwight, 1922 – Azores to Madeira and Canary Is.
  • L. m. michahellis J. F. Naumann, 1840 – W & S Europe, NW Africa and Mediterranean N to Poland and E to Turkey.
  • Descriptive notes

    52–58 cm; 420–1600 g (all subspecies), 670–1150 g (lusitanius); wingspan 120–140 cm. Generally more powerful, elegant and deep-breasted than L. argentatus,... read more


    Considered most similar to L. fuscus, and rather deeper and hoarser than L. argentatus... read more


    Coasts and inland habitats, being recorded breeding to > 2000 m in France. In W Europe, largely... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly fish, invertebrates, mammals (e.g. rats), refuse, scraps, offal, bird eggs and chicks (e.g. Monteiro’s Storm-petrels ... read more


    Similar to L. argentatus. In some colonies, territorial throughout winter; lays from mid March or, for example in Atlantic Is,... read more


    Sedentary and dispersive, but some populations at least are at least partially migratory, moving N... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Global population size unknown, but European population (the majority) estimated at 409,000–534,000 pairs and increasing, especially... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M., Sharpe, C.J. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 February 2020).