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Little gull


Common name Little gull
Scientific name Larus minutus o Hydrocoloeus minutus
Type Seabirds
Status Migrator

Seabird of small size (approximately 27 cm or 10.5 in) and short length of its legs. It is the smallest gull present in the Iberian Peninsula. Light grey upperparts and wings, white underparts, black head and top of the neck. White wing tips. Short and black bill. Short legs and in a pale red tone. In winter the bill and legs turn dark red and the head and neck lose the black tone, being reduced to some slight spots in the nape and crown. In flight the underside of the wings is dark grey with a white border (very distinctive feature).


Wetlands and Marine environment

Where it lives

Baltic species, present from Scandinavia to Siberia. In the Iberian Peninsula this gull is a rare species, scarce in general. It prefers inland wetlands, shallow waters and marshes. In winter it is a coastal species with preference for beaches and coastal lagoons.

How it lives

Wintering bird in the province and also present during its migration in the province. It breeds in colonies. Nest in sandy areas. A laying in the middle of May of 2 to 5 eggs. The Little Gull feeds on insects in summer, while in winter it catches small fish or crustaceans on the surface of the water.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Occasional and rare species in Malaga, easier to observe in passage than during the winter. It can be watched, especially during the spring passage, in the main wetlands of the province such as the Fuente de Piedra lagoon and the mouth of the Guadalhorce. Also, although less frequently, at any point along the coast.

Curious facts

The Latin name of this seagull has a synonym currently in disuse, "Hydrocoloeus minutus". It means "small water raven" and refers to its resemblance to a jackdaw, in shape and size, but looking like a seagull.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration