The Yellow-legged Gull is a large gull of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, which has only recently achieved wide recognition as a distinct species.
The breeding range is centered around the Mediterranean Sea. In North Africa it is common in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and increasing in places. Recent breeding has occurred in Libya and Egypt. In the Middle East a few breed in Israel and Syria with larger numbers in Cyprus and Turkey. In Europe there are colonies all along the Mediterranean coast, and also on the Atlantic islands and coasts north to Brittany and west to the Azores. It also breeds on the west side of the Black Sea; here it overlaps with the Caspian Gull but there is a difference in habitat, with the Yellow-legged Gull preferring sea cliffs and Caspian Gull on flatter shores. In recent decades birds have spread north into central and western Europe.