First thing to be aware of is that the Black-Headed Gull is not considered a ‘sea gull’because it is found commonly almost anywhere inland. The next thing is that it is not really a black-headed bird. The colour is more chocolate-brown – in fact, for much of the year, it has a white head. All most confusing! Despite this they are considered one of the easiest gulls to identify, and most birders take very little notice of them.
Their latin name is Larus ridibundus, and the Portuguese name is Guincho-comum. Like most gulls they are sociable noisy birds and are usually seen in small groups. We never saw many of them together, but this could be because most of they were hidden amongst the much larger Yellow-Legged Gull. Whilst I’m mentioning the Yellow-Legged Gull these gulls are only recently been recognised as a species in its own right. For years they were thought to be a sub-species of the Herring Gull – the most noticeable difference is the legs. Herring have pink. There is another gull which looks similar which is the lesser Black-Headed Gull, these gulls have darker wings than the Yellow-Legged. I don’t think there are any in this photograph but do let me know if I’m wrong!
The photograph above may catch the eye though of the serious British birder, not because of the small wader but because of the other gull – the Slender-Billed Gull. These are rare visitors to the UK, and are mostly found around the Mediterranean, Black, Red & Caspian Seas. Returning to the Black-Headed Gull, I know they are very common and of little interest to serious birders but I simply had to include a post about them as I just love my photographs of them!