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Birding Málaga


Common name Mediterranean gull
Scientific name Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
Type Seabirds
Status Wintering

Medium-sized bird (about 40 cm or 15.5 in), one of the three seagulls that present a black head in summer and a white one in winter. Grey-brown upperparts and wings; white underparts. Head a with black cap that covers the neck in summer and turns white in winter, with a black spot behind the eyes and nape. Fully white wings in the adults (with black tips in the juveniles). Red legs and red bill with black and yellow ending.


Marine environment

Where it lives

Inland wetlands with low vegetation, coasts, lagoons and even floodable fields and farmlands.

How it lives

Species mostly wintering in the province, although Malaga hosts rare and occasional breeders and individuals in migratory passage. The Mediterranean Gull nests in colonies, placing it on the ground. One laying of 2 to 3 eggs. It feeds on terrestrial insects, although it also consumes fish (discards from fishing vessels), aquatic insects and vegetable food (olives), as well as landfill waste.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent and abundant species along the Malaga coast as well as in the interior, in waste plants, reservoirs and marshes.

Curious facts

Gulls make large journeys daily to forage. This is especially true in waste plants, which host thousands of individuals up to 100 kilometers (more than 60 miles) around which go there to look for food. The frequency of displacements is greater in the breeding season.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration