Black-headed Gulls

Black-headed Gulls

Not really a black-headed bird, more chocolate-brown - in fact, for much of the year, it has a white head. It is most definitely not a 'seagull' and is found commonly almost anywhere inland. Black-headed gulls are sociable, quarrelsome, noisy birds, usually seen in small groups or flocks, often gathering into larger parties where there is plenty of food, or when they are roosting.

Key ID Features
Small, agile, very white looking gull with a pale grey back terminating in long, black wing points visible at rest.
Summer adults, despite the name, have a chocolate-brown facial hood and crown with white eye-lids.
The deep-red leg colour is matched by the slender bill.
Winter adults, sporting a black tip to the red bill, lack the brown head, which becomes white, but retain a dark ear spot and smudged eye and forehead.
Juveniles are brown on the neck and back, which greys as they mature, orangey legs and a darker bill.
In flight the black trailing edge of the white-fronted upper wing and white outer edge of dark grey under wing help to separate it from the similar Mediterranean Gull, especially in winter plumage.

Overview
Scientific name: Larus (or Chroicocephalus) ridibundus
Family: Gulls (Laridae)

Where to see them:
The commonest inland gull, particularly in N England, Scotland and Wales. Large colonies along the south and east coasts of England.

Seen in UK:
All year round.

What they eat
Worms, insects, fish and carrion.

Text (c) RSPB, used with permission
For more information click here
Ref:
Date:
Location:
Photographer:
Tim Tapley

Black-headed Gulls

Not really a black-headed bird, more chocolate-brown - in fact, for much of the year, it has a white head. It is most definitely not a 'seagull' and is found commonly almost anywhere inland. Black-headed gulls are sociable, quarrelsome, noisy birds, usually seen in small groups or flocks, often gathering into larger parties where there is plenty of food, or when they are roosting.

Key ID Features
Small, agile, very white looking gull with a pale grey back terminating in long, black wing points visible at rest.
Summer adults, despite the name, have a chocolate-brown facial hood and crown with white eye-lids.
The deep-red leg colour is matched by the slender bill.
Winter adults, sporting a black tip to the red bill, lack the brown head, which becomes white, but retain a dark ear spot and smudged eye and forehead.
Juveniles are brown on the neck and back, which greys as they mature, orangey legs and a darker bill.
In flight the black trailing edge of the white-fronted upper wing and white outer edge of dark grey under wing help to separate it from the similar Mediterranean Gull, especially in winter plumage.

Overview
Scientific name: Larus (or Chroicocephalus) ridibundus
Family: Gulls (Laridae)

Where to see them:
The commonest inland gull, particularly in N England, Scotland and Wales. Large colonies along the south and east coasts of England.

Seen in UK:
All year round.

What they eat
Worms, insects, fish and carrion.

Text (c) RSPB, used with permission
For more information click here
Ref:
Date:
Location:
Photographer:
Tim Tapley