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Black-headed Gull

Chroicocephalus ridibundus


This gull is 38–44 cm (15-17½ in) long with a 94–105 cm (37–41 in) wingspan. In flight, the white leading edge to the wing is a good field mark. The summer adult has a chocolate-brown head (not black, despite the name), pale grey body, black tips to the primary wing feathers, and red bill and legs. The hood is lost in winter, leaving just dark vertical streaks. This is a noisy species, especially in colonies, with a familiar "kree-ar" call. Its scientific name means "laughing gull".


It breeds in colonies in large reedbeds or marshes, or on islands in lakes, nesting on the ground. Like most gulls, it is highly gregarious in winter, both when feeding or in evening roosts. It is not a pelagic species and is rarely seen at sea far from coasts.


These birds are migratory in Kunming. Every year the residents eagerly await the arrival of them in colonies of hundreds or even thousands. They stand near the edge of the lake holding out food. The gulls come and eat right out their hands. The locals love it!

1 Species ID Suggestions

Liam 11 years ago
Black-headed Gull (nonbreeding)
Chroicocephalus ridibundus Black-headed Gull

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1 Comment

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 11 years ago

Thanks Liam

Dan Doucette
Spotted by
Dan Doucette

昆明市, 云南 Yunnan, Paracel Islands

Spotted on Dec 18, 2011
Submitted on Apr 9, 2012

Spotted for Mission

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