The seagull that is the symbol of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park

The Island of Elba, as with the other islands in the Tuscan Archipelago, are situated at what can be considered a "crossroads" as regards the numerous species of migrating birds. Thanks to the many different environments along the coasts, many are perfect even for some birds who settle there all year round, like Audouin's gull, now considered a species of prime importance: the rarest species of seagulls in the world, the symbol of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.

Audouin's gull is a colonial speciesthat eats mostly marine food so it heavily depends on whatever fish it can find. Unfortunately several factors are becoming a serious threat to its survival: it is very sensitive to man's intrusion, it has to compete with the herring gull, and many land animals hunt it.

It is a beautiful bird smaller and thinner than the herring gull. Once it is fully grown you can't mistake it when you see it because it's feathers are pearl grey, it has a beautiful, coral-red beak with a black tip at the end , Another unique characteristic it has is the lead-grey colour of its legs, very different to the yellow of the legs of the Mediterranean Herring Gull.

Photographs by Franco Lorenzini