Armenian Gull

The Armenian Gull (Larus armenicus) is a large gull found in the Caucasus and Middle East. It was formerly classified as a subspecies of the Herring Gull (L. argentatus) but is now generally considered to be a separate species although BirdLife International lumps it with the Yellow-legged Gull (L. michahellis).

Armenian Gulls are similar to Yellow-legged Gulls but are slightly smaller with a slightly darker grey back and dark eyes. The area of black on the wingtips is more extensive with smaller white spots. The bill is short with a distinctive black band just before the tip. First-winter birds are mainly brown. They have a whitish rump, pale inner primary feathers and a narrow, sharply-defined black band on the tail.

The Armenian Gull nests beside mountain lakes in Georgia, Armenia, Turkey and western Iran. The largest colonies are at Lake Sevan and Lake Arpi in Armenia. It is a partial migrant with many birds wintering on the coasts of Turkey, Lebanon and Israel. Smaller numbers reach Cyprus, Egypt and the Persian Gulf.

The nest is a mound of vegetation built on the ground on an island or the lakeshore. Three eggs are laid, mainly in late April. The nesting colonies are very dense with nests close together and territorial conflicts common.

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