Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Breeding Status: List Type: Province Tally:

1 species
290 Formerly Accepted SpeciesYellow-legged Gull This European species is a relatively recent split from Herring Gull (1990's). There is a single published state record -- an adult photographed at Cape Hatteras Point on 13-14 Mar 1995* (Chat 60:153-156). It was accepted by the NC BRC (Chat 61:260-264) and added to the Official List, in 1996. There are several other unpublished reports of the species, all from the Cape Hatteras area, in the latter half of the 1990's, but none of these has been submitted for a vote by the NC BRC. It is well known that Herring Gull x Lesser Black-backed Gull hybrids can look quite similar to Yellow-legged Gulls, at least in the adult plumages. Also, because it is almost certain that a handful of such hybrids have occurred at Cape Hatteras Point each winter, there is a good chance that a "Yellow-legged Gull" report is actually such a hybrid, if not some other hybrid or simply some other species (such as a Herring Gull with yellow legs). In the latter part of the 2000's and early 2010's, a number of excellent references and websites on gull identification, especially with color photos, became available to the public. In 2012, the NC BRC re-voted on this 1995 record, armed with this new identification material. The vote by the Committee yielded an "Unaccepted Sighting" verdict, meaning that the species has been removed from the state's Definitive (and also Accepted) List (Chat 77:6-10).