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Black-headed gull


Common name Black-headed gull
Scientific name Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Type Seabirds
Status Resident

Medium-sized bird (approx 37 cm or 14.5 in), small among gulls. Light grey upperparts and wings; white underparts. Dark brown cap on the head during the summer, without covering it completely or reaching the neck. White head in winter with a small dark spot in the auditory area. Eye surrounded by white ring. Deep red legs and dark red bill. Black wing tips.


Wetlands and Marine environment

Where it lives

Species of coasts and inland. Wetlands of fresh and salt water, reservoirs, marshes, artificial lagoons, rivers in urban areas and farmlands.

How it lives

Bird resident in the province, with a small breeding colony in the Fuente de Piedra lagoon. Malaga also hosts a large contingent of wintering individuals. Nest on the ground. One laying of 2 to 3 eggs. Animal diet basically, including all kinds of insects, invertebrates, fish and especially waste and organic remains in landfills. Like Western cattle egrets, the Black-Headed Gull follows the plows waiting for them to remove the soil and uncover insects. It also consumes vegetable food if available.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent and abundant species in all the Malaga coast, as well as in the Fuente de Piedra and Campillos lagoons and in marshes and reservoirs.

Curious facts

In general, the age of juveniles in gulls can be estimated according to the plumage, which varies year after year with the seasonal changes. Normally it starts being brown and little by little it ends up being transformed into that one of adults. Thus, there are first, second or third winter juveniles, and the same terms are used for summer plumages. The name of this gull makes reference to the fact that it is a sea bird that laughs (“ridibundus” means "to laugh") due to its typical call, that sounds like a laugh.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration