Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibindus
(aka (Larus ridibundus)
Black-headed Gull, East Lothian, Scotland, November 2000 - click for larger image


The Black-headed Gull only acquires its black head during the breeding season. As the first two photos show, out of the breeding season it has a white head with a prominent dark ear spot as well as a dark smudge running vertically through the eye. The third photo shows a bird beginning to show a darker head as we move towards the breeding season.

Black-headed Gull, Dunsapie Loch, Edinburgh, Scotland, November 2000 - click for larger image The 4th photo shows that, in summer plumage, the head is dark brown rather than black.

The other features of note are the bright red legs and the red bill with dark tip.

The Black-headed Gull breeds from south Greenland through Iceland and Europe into Asia. Over most of its range it migrates south to Africa and southern Asia during the northern winter but in Britain it is largely resident throughout the year while some immigrants from northern Europe overwinter here.

Black-headed Gull, Musselburgh, Scotland, December 2000 - click for larger image There is an illustration in HBW, Volume 3, Page 612
Black-headed Gull, Farne Islands, England, June 2003 - click for larger image
Black-headed Gull, Flevoland, Netherlands, April 2002 - click for larger image
1st summer Black-headed Gull, Loch Inchard, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image This photo shows a 1st summer bird with remnants of the juvenile plumage on the wing and the dark band on the tail.
Black-headed Gull, Walberswick, Suffolk, July 2009 - click for larger image This photo shows an adult moving from breeding plumage to non-breeding plumage.
Black-headed Gull, Minsmere, Suffolk, March 2010 - click for larger image
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