Bird Families

Mediterranean gull Larus michahellis is a nesting species of the Black Sea coast of Crimea


Latin name:Larus michahellis

Appearance and behavior... A large bald gull, similar in size and color to herring gull and gull. The legs and wings are relatively long, the powerful beak is relatively short and blunt, the neck is powerful, the crown is flat. During a long cry, it first lowers its head, then raises it vertically upward, like a clump. Body length 58–68 cm, wingspan 140–158 cm, weight 800–1,500 g.

Description... Adult birds have a white head in summer. The mantle is dark gray, similar to that of northern herring gulls, the wings are dark gray with an extensive black field at the end of the wing, which captures 6, sometimes 7 flight feathers (from the tenth to the fifth or fourth). The fifth primary feather has a rather wide black stripe, the outermost primary feather (tenth) has a small white preapical spot, the adjacent ninth feather is usually the same. In some birds, the tenth feather has a completely white tip, like the typical gull. The bill is bright yellow, with a bright red spot on the beak of the mandible, which often passes over to the mandible. The eyes are yellow, the eyelids are red. Legs are exceptionally bright yellow. In winter, adult birds retain a mostly white head (in contrast to the herring gull), usually with few small light gray streaks around the eyes.

Young birds in nesting plumage have dark plumage, but the head and lower body quickly begin to brighten and contrast with the dark mantle and completely black beak. A dark spot is often noticeable behind the eye. The brown feathers take on a characteristic warm hue. In flying birds, a small bright field is visible on the inner primary flight feathers. In rare cases, all internal primary flight feathers are dark. The dark outer large upper wing coverts form an incomplete dark stripe. The tertiary primary feathers are dark brown, with a narrow light border. Uppertail and tail are white, with a contrasting black pre-apical stripe and white tips of tail feathers. The underwing is rather dark, with many dark streaks on the coverts, but lighter than that of the herring gull. Mediterranean gulls begin molting early in their first winter outfit and can acquire it as early as early September. During the first winter, the Mediterranean gull, in contrast to the herring gull, replaces some of the wing coverts. A year later, in the second winter plumage, she, like the gull, usually looks older than the herring gull of the same age, having numerous gray feathers on the mantle (gray “saddle”) and among the wing coverts. The head and underparts are white, there are few or no dark streaks. Underwing coverts with numerous brown streaks, less clean than those of the gull. Unlike the typical gull, the iris begins to brighten. In the third winter plumage, the Mediterranean gull acquires a more adult appearance.

Color changeable... The mantle and tops of the wings are dark gray, with some black coverts of the primary flight feathers. External primary primary feathers are black, with a small white preapical spot on the extreme, tenth, and sometimes on the adjacent ninth, but white spots may be completely absent. There is a black stripe on the fifth flight feather. The head and bottom are white. The tail is white or even with the remainder of black spots. The color of the beak is variable: yellow with a black and red spot at the end, or still mostly dark. Legs are yellowish or still pinkish. Adult birds are very similar to adult yellow-legged herring gulls and to a lesser extent to laughing gulls. It is important to pay attention to the color of the beak (it is bright yellow with a large bright red spot on the mandible, passing to the upper beak, which is rare in the herring gull and gull), the black field at the end of the wing (it is clearly smaller and often does not go to the fifth flight feather in Baltic and northern herring gulls) and in proportion (in comparison with the herring gull, relatively long legs and wings, a powerful, blunt beak, which sometimes resembles that of a sea gull). During a long cry, he holds his head upright, in contrast to the herring gull, which holds his head at a 45 ° angle.

When identifying young birds in nesting and first winter plumage, it is advisable to have a good look at the bird on the ground and in flight. In comparison with the usually darker herring gulls, the light head and underside are striking, contrasting with the dark mantle, the spot behind the eye and the black beak. The absence of a clear bright field on the inner primary flight feathers, which is characteristic of young herring gulls, is noticeable. Another important feature is the coloration of tertiary flight feathers. In the Mediterranean gull, they are dark brown, with a narrow, uniform light border, in contrast to most herring gulls, in which these feathers are more variegated, with a jagged border. The tail of a young Mediterranean gull is more contrasting than that of the herring gull, there are fewer dark streaks on it and the apical stripe is darker. Young Mediterranean gulls in their nesting and first winter plumage differ from the gulls in proportions (especially in the beak), in the dark underside of the wing (it is lighter or whitish in the gull), and in the dark spot behind the eye (in the gull is usually absent). In the gull, the bright field on the inner primary flight feathers is usually slightly brighter. The incomplete dark stripe extending from above along the large cover feathers differs from the more developed stripe along all the large cover feathers of the gull. The appearance of new coverts during the first winter virtually excludes the herring gull and speaks in favor of the Mediterranean gull or the headed gull.

The Mediterranean gull differs from young coughs and khaleis in size and proportions, lighter head and bottom, a whiter tail with a black pre-apical stripe and the presence of a faint bright field on the inner primary primary feathers (it is absent in klus and khaleis). The size, color of the wings and tail also distinguish the Mediterranean gull from the juvenile sea gull. In other outfits it differs from the giggle in proportions. In individuals in the second winter plumage, the underside of the wing is darker than in the gull. The eyes begin to brighten earlier than the gull's. In comparison with the herring gull, it looks cleaner and "more mature" in all non-adult outfits.

Vote... A long cry, similar to the long cry of a cluck, is lower in timbre than that of a herring gull, and noticeably slower than that of a gull.

Distribution, status... Inhabits the rocky shores of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the Atlantic coast of Morocco, Spain, Portugal and France, the Canary Islands and the Azores. As a result of the expansion of the range towards the north, it began to nest in small numbers in Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Poland and other countries of Western and Central Europe. The nearest nesting places from Russia are in the Crimea. In late summer and autumn, this gull is abundant along the entire Russian coast of the Black Sea. Perhaps, she nests there, but there is no reliable data on nesting. It occurs regularly in the south of the Baltic Sea, especially in autumn. Known flights to Finland, Estonia and the Moscow region. The appearance of this species can also be expected in the Kaliningrad region.

Lifestyle... Some birds stay near the colonies all year round. Most of them arrive in February. For nesting it prefers to use rocky shores, sandy islands, river valleys, sometimes roofs of houses. The nest is a fossa with varying amounts of litter. Oviposition takes place in March or April. Clutch contains 1–3 olive-brown eggs with brown spots. Both parents incubate the clutch, but mostly females for 27–31 days. Chicks begin to fly at 35–40 days. It feeds on fish, molluscs, small mammals and birds, eggs and chicks, carrion. Willingly visits landfills.

Meetings are possible on the Black Sea coast of the region duuen gull, or Audouin's seagullsLarus audouinii, a Mediterranean species that flew into the Crimea and Georgia. She nests on islands in the Mediterranean. There are no reliable meetings on the territory of Russia yet. The size of a black cough (body length 48–52 cm, wingspan 115–148 cm), but more graceful, adult birds with a light mantle, a small white spot at the top of the outer primary feather, with a dark rainbow, red (with a black band and a light apex) beak and relatively long green-gray legs. Young birds are similar to young Mediterranean gulls, but smaller in size, there is no light field on blackish primary flight feathers, dark upper large wing coverts form a characteristic dark stripe, blackish tail.

Meetings are known in the Black Sea region armenian gullLarus (cachinnans) armenicus, nesting on the mountain lakes of the Caucasus and Turkey. On the territory of Russia, a stray bird was caught on 08/10/1921 near the city of Novorossiysk. The Armenian gull is similar to both the gull and the Mediterranean gull, but, as a rule, a little smaller than these birds. The wings are long. The eyes are dark. The beak is relatively short; many birds have a dark band all year round. This form is in many ways close to the Mediterranean gull.

Mediterranean gull (Larus michahellis)

History of the species

A species of gulls, albeit adaptive to environmental changes, is not able to adapt to any conditions. On the territory of Russia, the population lives:

  • on the Kola Peninsula,
  • in Karelia,
  • on the Solovetsky Island.

The population nests outside the territory of Russia, in Europe. The species is similar to another subspecies, also similar to gulls - Larus heuglini.

The main reason for the vulnerable status is the development of habitats by humans. Environmental pollution has badly affected the adults.

The status of a vulnerable species does not mean that the population will be completely extinct. Now in Russia, several programs are underway to preserve the number of gulls.

External characteristics

Like any seagull, the nest has a well-developed body. She is fast in flight and careful on land. Herring gulls include several subspecies at once. Their differences are minimal. An adult has 2 main shades of plumage - gray, closer to white, black.

The head, neck and lower abdomen are light in color. In flight, the silvery part of the belly is visible. Wings, back, tail of a dark shade. In the sun, the plumage gives off a metallic sheen. The beak is long and curved. It is similar in color to paws - bright yellow. Due to the unusual structure of the beak, the gull finds food for itself.

Paws are moderately massive, strong, long. Their color is bright. There are membranes on the fingers, the claws are not long. The eyes are small, around a barely noticeable yellow stripe. The plumage is short and dense. On the wings, tail, the plumage is different - there are hard feathers with a long, massive base.

The body length ranges from 50 to 56 cm. The wingspan is up to 134 cm. The weight of an adult, both female and male, is 770 g.

Juveniles are slightly different from adults. Light shades on the plumage appear no earlier than the 4th year of life. Outwardly, the young are similar to small sea gulls. The plumage is motley without clear boundaries. The young have a short, dark beak. From the second year of life, color boundaries begin to stand out on the plumage.

Brief description of the species

Klusha nests in the area near the reservoir. She chooses simple areas without lower reaches. Uplands are suitable for nesting. The habitat should be a shelter, a quiet place to live. The bird does not fly far for food.

The bird is migratory. Long-distance flights allow you to get to warm Africa. Some populations reach Pakistan and India. The rocky shores are suitable for a temporary stopover during migration.

Food, hunting

The bird hunts in the water, uses many techniques. She dives or catches fish near the surface of the water. The bird rarely flies on land. She looks out for the alleged victim for a long time. Klusha takes prey of other birds.

The main diet consists of fish, insects and shellfish. In rare cases, the bird feeds on worms or small rodents.


Klusha is monogamous. In the spring, the flock arrives in pairs. For nesting, the flock is divided into small colonies. Nesting occurs on rocks, less often on abandoned buildings. The bird builds a nest on the ground. Clutch contains 1-3 eggs. The incubation time takes about a month.

Description and distribution

Mediterranean gull (Larus michahellis) - a rather large bird with a wingspan of 120-140 cm and a body length of 52-58 cm, inhabiting the entire coast of the Mediterranean, Aegean and Adriatic seas. The range of the species covers the Mediterranean coast to the Adriatic and south to Tunisia and Malta, the Aegean Sea, Crete, Cyprus and extends along the Dardanelles, the Sea of ​​Marmara and the Bosphorus to the Black Sea, where the species is found in the western part, upstream of the Danube, as well as on southeast coast. In addition, there are small breeding populations in Mauritania, Libya, Israel and Egypt. Also in the north of Western and Central Europe there are scattered colonies or separate nesting sites, for example in Switzerland, southern Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, the Netherlands and the UK.

In color and appearance, the Mediterranean gull is similar to the herring gull and some other species. Its most characteristic features are: a bright red spot on the mandible, yellow legs and iris of the eyes, a bright red ring around the eyes.


This gull nests on the rocky coast or on rocky and sandy islands near the coast, as well as on islands with alluvial soil or high vegetation, in lagoons, on salt ponds and estuaries, sometimes on the roofs of buildings located near the coast of villages, cities and ports ( in Istanbul and Bulgaria). Outside the nesting period, this gull lives mainly on the coast, where it looks for food on the high seas or in fishing harbors or beaches. In the interior of the mainland, it is found mainly along rivers, as well as on agricultural land, near water bodies and in garbage dumps.

Seagulls: description

Seagulls are part of the Gullbirds family. Their closest relatives are skimmers and terns. In total, there are about fifty species of gulls that can be found in any corner of the planet Earth. Such birds are widespread in coastal, marine and pelagic environments. However, despite the strong belief that seagulls live near the sea, they are also often found in inland habitats. You can meet such birds on the territory of agricultural fields, and in wetlands, and within the city and suburbs, far from water bodies. However, in barren deserts, on steep mountain slopes and in impenetrable jungles, they are practically not found.

Different types of gulls can look very different from each other. There are many legends associated with the unusual color of various animals, while the seagulls did not stand aside. Particularly famous is the variety of gulls with unusual pink plumage. A long time ago there was a legend that these birds were once beautiful girls. But the evil envious witch took revenge on these young maidens. She killed them by luring them into rose water. And when this happened, beautiful birds of an unusual pink color began to circle in the sky - these were the souls of young beauties. To this day, they help sailors who are in trouble.


Externally, gulls, depending on the species, can differ significantly from each other. However, all species have something in common. For example, their elongated body has a streamlined aerodynamic shape. Their tail is almost square, and the wings are very long in span. It is impossible to distinguish the female from the male by one appearance alone in seagulls.Young birds are brownish-white in color, but with age it changes to pure white. The mass of a seagull directly depends on the species and can vary from 0.15 to 2 kg. Moreover, their size is also quite diverse - 0.3–0.8 m.

Their legs are average, and they can be painted in black or red. The powerful beak has a hooked shape, which allows seagulls not to miss sea prey, which is sometimes very slippery. The size of such animals depends on the species: they are both large and small. In some species, membranes are present on the paws. As a rule, membranes are found in those species that live on the seashore, but they are absent in ocean birds.

Such an animal is painted in contrasting colors: basically all the plumage is white, but there are marks of a dark shade at the ends of the wings, as well as on the head. Some species have a completely white body, but they have masking stripes of dark color on their backs. Birds do not drown in water and easily swim on its surface, this is possible due to the waterproofness of their plumage.

How many seagulls live

Under natural conditions, the average life span of gulls is 15–20 years.

Types of seagulls with photos and names

The Gull family numbers about six dozen bird species. At the same time, young individuals outwardly differ greatly from adults. That is why below we will consider the specific features of adult gulls.

Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

This bird is one of the most widespread species in nature. The entire body and nape of such an animal are white, only a mark of a contrasting brown shade flaunts on the face. It lives in the fresh waters of rivers and lakes. The weight of a bird varies from 0.25 to 0.35 kg, while in length it can reach up to 0.4 m.