The birds at the LNR – The Gulls (Laridae)

There are many types of gull present at the LNR and surrounding sites. They all look similar but I hope the following article helps you identify each species.

All images Peter Drury unless otherwise stated

 Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundas)

Adult in Spring/Summer plumage

Adult in winter plumage

Adult in flight with hood beginning to form.

Juvenile in flight

These birds also breed on the Oysterbed islands. They build nests of twigs and vegetation on the surface of the islands. They try to nest BEFORE the arrival of the Tern and, unless discouraged from nesting from March to May, they would deny the Tern from nest sites. For this reason, you may see brightly coloured tape over the surface of the islands. Images of the Black-headed Gull breeding season on the islands can be found here > http://www.imageinuk.com/Other/Black-headed-Gull-Story/13983898_FVhJF More images of this species at http://www.imageinuk.com/Birds/Gulls-Laridae/Black-headed-Gull-Larus/8765774_jMhgDH#!i=1086061980&k=96o35

QUICK ID GUIDE

The bill and legs of the adult gull are dull red. During the spring/summer the plumage about the head forms a hood. Although the name implies that this is black it is in fact dark brown. The body plumage is mainly white and the wings are grey with black tips.
The juvenile birds are similar to the adults except their plumage is very variable, with brown markings, until the first moult. They also have a black tail tip in the first winter.

FURTHER INFO

These birds breed on the Oysterbed islands. They build nests of twigs and vegetation on the surface of the islands. They try to nest BEFORE the arrival of the Tern and, unless discouraged from nesting from March to May, they would deny the Tern nesting sites. For this reason, you may see brightly coloured tape over the surface of the islands.

See also the Black headed Gull story for images during the breeding season.


 


 Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)

Adult Gull in the lagoon

Mediterranean and Black headed gulls on North Island in the lagoon. A Med gull fledgling can be seen on the right.

 QUICK ID GUIDE

They can be very difficult to identify from their cousins, the Black-headed Gull except in the breeding season. The main differences are a thicker (or heavier) red bill and a true black, not brown. hood with white eye lids.

FURTHER INFO

Seen all the year round. This Gull has spread it’s range to include Iceland and Western European coastlines. Breeding colonies exist in Langstone Harbour.

More images of this species at http://www.imageinuk.com/Birds/Gulls-Laridae/Mediterranean-Gull/12872301_TgT6Pr#!i=1226003048&k=qqfXC


 


 Common Gull (Larus canus)

 

Adult in flight.

Winter plumage

Immature 1st winter birds have brown plumage, dark wing and tail tips.

QUICK ID GUIDE

Seen all the year round. The adult gulls have a white patch on the black wing-tips, green to yellow green legs, pale yellow-green bill without a red patch on the side and dark eyes. They are also smaller than the Herring Gull.  Their winter plumage includes brown neck markings.

FURTHER INFO

More images of this species at http://www.imageinuk.com/Birds/Gulls-Laridae/Common-Gull-Larus-canus/8788580_H8cjTT#!i=1185301177&k=HHSRj


 

 Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

Adult Herring Gull

Adult Herring Gull in flight with prey from the shoreline

Immature Herring Gull

Immature Herring Gull in flight

QUICK ID GUIDE

Seen the whole year round. These are one of the larger gulls with a white patch on black wing tips (similar to the Common Gull). The bill is heavy and yellow with a red spot on the side. The legs are pink. Like most gulls, the immature birds have a brown patches on the body and wings. Immature birds also have a pale bill with a dark spot on the side.

FURTHER INFO

More images of this species at http://www.imageinuk.com/Birds/Gulls-Laridae/Herring-Gull-Larus-argentatus/8755649_rF4nRZ#!i=689411570&k=zw3v3


In Work – More Gull species to add


 More information about Gulls (Laridae)

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Peterd
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