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bird Black Headed Gulls

Identify It >   Birds Section >   Black Headed Gulls >


Scientific name:  Larus ridibundus

Size:  Approx 36cm

Distribution:  Found throughout the UK

Months seen:  All year round

Habitat:  Farmland, on or near water, and on landfill/waste sites

Food:  Worms and insects

Special features:  Black-headed gulls can be recognised in the summer months by their dark chocolate brown coloured 'hood'.  The plumage on the back, and top of the wings, is grey, while the front and undersides of the wings are white, as are the leading edges of the wings (which differentiates them from other gulls).  The tips of the wing feathers and the tips of the tail feathers are black.  The legs are orange-red and the beak is red-brown.

In the winter months the plumage changes.  The head becomes all white except for a small patch behind each eye.

Black-headed gulls are frequently be seen in late summer on farmland when the ground is being ploughed.  The gulls congregate behind the farmers tractor, feeding on the freshly exposed worms and grubs.

They will also scavenge food from rubbish tips in winter when insects are harder to find.

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