Herring Gulls, Yellow-legged Gulls, Big Gulls, Small Gulls...

To: Tony Keene <>, birding-aus <>
Subject: Herring Gulls, Yellow-legged Gulls, Big Gulls, Small Gulls...
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2010 23:33:33 -0800 (PST)
Hi Tony,

Yes, there is a chance for Armenian Gull (armenicus) in Istanbul, also for 
Caspian Gull (cachinnans) and also remotely for Herring Gull (argentatus) in 
winter, but Yellow-legged (michahellis) is the common one there. 

And yes, they all were lumped under Herring until the late 70s or early 80s, 
when they were split into two species. Later, they were split into many 
The issue is quite complicated and still dynamic - so further changes will 
happen. Tony, you have opened a can of worms!

Larus marinus (Great Black-backed), michahellis (Yellow-legged), armenicus 
(Armenian), argentatus and argenteus (two Herring Gull ssp.) likely share a 
common ancestor in the North-Atlantic area.
Whereas cachinnans (Caspian; until recently lumped with the unrelated 
Yellow-legged), barabensis ('Steppe', currently Caspian ssp.), mongolicus 
('Mongolian', currently Caspian ssp.), fuscus, intermedius and graellsii (three 
Lesser Black-backed ssp.), heuglini (Heuglin's), vegae (Vega), Slaty-backed 
(schistisagus), Iceland (glaucoides), Thayer's (thayeri) and American Herring 
(smithsonianus, until recently lumped with unrelated Herring Gull) have most 
likely a common ancestor in the aralo-caspian area.

So, if you now want to re-lump them all, then you will end up with different 
"Big Gulls" compared to the pre-DNA days...



Nikolas Haass

Sydney, NSW

----- Original Message ----
From: Tony Keene <>
To: birding-aus <>
Sent: Sat, December 11, 2010 10:41:33 PM
Subject: Silver Gull Aerial Predation and gulls in Istanbul

I heard some forward-thinking souls proposed that gulls should be lumped as 
Big Gull;
Small Gull;
Ross' Gull.

Mind you, what are the chances of Armenian Gull in Istanbul? If it's any help, 
Yellow-legged, Caspian and Armenian Gulls have all been considered at various 
points as subspecies of the Herring Gull.


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