Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Black-headed Gull.

Our most commonest colonial breeding gull occupying coastal and inland waters, often in large numbers, is the Black-headed Gull (Chrioicocephalus ridibundus)
It is fairly easy to identify at any time of year as it is our only gull species that reaches maturity in just two years. 

However its given name doesn't correctly match its looks as adults (above) in their summer plumage actually sport a dark chocolate-brown hood but of course from a distance it does look black.

At this time of year most of the adults are now in their winter plumage (above) and their dark cap is replaced by just a bold dark ear spot and the bill gains its black tip. The distinctive all white tail is also an obvious ID feature (see below) when in flight.


Well into autumn this years juveniles (above and below) are now sporting their 1st winter plumage, retaining some faded brown on the wings and the distinctive black tail band which is again very obvious in flight.


 A 1st winter individual flying in ahead of an adult just for comparison.  FAB.

Linking to WILD BIRD WEDNESDAY hosted by Stewart.

25 comments:

  1. Well explained Frank, I hope you're going to do a couple more posts to sort out the rest of the gulls now??...[;o)

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  2. Beautiful photos, Frank, and I appreciated your descriptions and I.D.'s. I have a hard time identifying Gulls at times.

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  3. Gulls are adorable, and your wildlife shots amazing!

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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  4. Superb post,love the first shot,looks like its head has been dipped in chocolate.
    John.

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  5. I have never seen a Black Headed Gull before. He is gorgeous! Great shots!

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  6. Beautiful gull....reminds me of our Bonaparte's gull over here.

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  7. Excellent shots, Frank! We have gulls here during the winter.

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  8. Outstanding captures of their day in flight or not! Beautiful.

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  9. I love that last shot of them in flight with their legs dangling.

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  10. Hi Frank Another great ID feature of this Gull is the white leading edge. None of our regular gulls have this. Great shots

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  11. I really like that last comparison shot. I struggle with gulls but pretty good with the Black-headed gull. I didn't however know about the black band on the tail of the juveniles. Must pay more attention.

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  12. Its about the only gull I can easily ID normally Frank. I struggle with most of them, I keep searching for a 'Med' amongst the BH Giulls, but have not been that lucky yet.

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  13. it's surprising that hood of colour is so perfectly delineated ....

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  14. Great photos! How interesting that the "black" heads are actually brown.

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  15. Great photos! Interesting about the different plumage!

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  16. I've seen a couple in winter plumage but barely got a look the identifying marks.-Not really a great sighting for me-I prefer your great photos!

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  17. Gosh I found it fascinating that they would change plummage during the different seasons. I loved the chocolate brown coloring.

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  18. Great comparison notes and wonderful photos, Frank. Very lovely bird.

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  19. Nice pictures - it was nice to see this bird again on my recent trip back to the UK. It does crop up now and them in Australia - and I have spent more than a few hours looking through flocks of Silver Gull to try to find one - no luck so far!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

    PS: sorry for slow reply, I've been away from home because of work!

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  20. Wonderful photos! Gulls are beautiful birds.

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  21. Just gorgeous, so wonderful Frank!

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