Black-headed Gull

Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

BHGU

Code 6

LARRID

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Black-headed Gull has a very large breeding range of 16,700,000 square kilometers. This includes shallow lakes, rivers, and other wetlands in Iceland, much of Europe, Asia Minor, Russia, Kazakhstan, and northern China. It winters in a variety of marine and wetland habitats in Europe, northern Africa, and southern and eastern Asia, and has an estimated global population of 4,800,000-8,900,000 individuals. Vagrants also occur each year in North America. The Black-headed Gull is typically a colonial bird. The only colonies which don’t migrate are those living in western Europe. Although this species has been in decline, its population is still believed to be large and stable enough to warrant a conservation rating of Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Black-headed Gull: Small, white gull with partial hood, white crescents above and below eye, and white-gray back. Red bill. Wings with black tips and black bases of primaries. Sexes similar. Non-breeding adult lacks hood, black mark behind eye, and black tip on bill. Juvenile like winter adult but more black on wing and tail with black tip.

 

Range and Habitat

Black-headed Gull: Breeds from southern Greenland through most of Europe and central Asia to Kamchatka and northeast China. In North America found along Atlantic coast from Labrador, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia to New York. Casual to Virginia. Nests in coastal and freshwater marshes, and lakes; spends winters on estuaries, wetlands, reservoirs, ploughed fields, pastures, and landfills.

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Black-headed Gull SONGS AND CALLS

Black-headed Gull J1

Harsh "karr" calls from a colony.

Black-headed Gull L1

Juvenile call is a higher-pitched "karr".

Similar Sounding

Common Tern JJ1

Advertising call is a down-slurred "keeuur".


Voice Text

"kree-aaa", "karr", "kek"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Black-headed Gull is the most common inland gull in North America. It is rarely seen at sea far from coasts. Their heads only appear black from a distance, in the summer they are brown, and during the winter they are white.
  • They are the prefectural bird of Tokyo and the Yurikamone mass transit system is named after them.
  • This is a noisy species, especially at colonies, with a familiar "kree-ar" call. Its scientific name means "Laughing Gull."
  • A group of gulls has many collective nouns, including a "flotilla", "gullery", "screech", "scavenging", and "squabble" of gulls.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

RANGE MAP PALAU

About this Palau Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Palau islands.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Chris Vest

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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PrimariesX
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X