Black-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull, Kokmeeuw, Lachmöwe, Guincho-comum, Gaivota Reidora

Spotted in the Alentejo region of Portugal.         Black-headed Gull sound    

The Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) is a small gull which breeds in much of Europe and Asia, and also in coastal eastern Canada. Most of the population is migratory, wintering further south, but some birds in the milder westernmost areas of Europe are resident. Some birds will also spend the winter in northeastern North America, where it was formerly known as the Common Black-headed Gull. As is the case with many gulls, it had previously been placed in the genus Larus.

Black-headed Gull Bird Hide BSP2 Portugal
Black-headed Gull

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.

The Black-headed Gull is a bold and opportunist feeder and will eat insects, fish, seeds, worms, scraps and carrion in towns, or take invertebrates in ploughed fields with equal relish.

This species takes two years to reach maturity. First-year birds have a black terminal tail band, more dark areas in the wings, and, in summer, a less fully developed dark hood. Like most gulls, Black-headed Gulls are long-lived birds, with a maximum age of 63 years recorded in the wild.

Other synonyms:

Afrikaans: Swartkopmeeu
Asturian: Gavilueta Glayadora, Gaviota Riyidora
Breton: Ar gouelan penn du, Gouelan penn-du
Catalan: Gavina d’hivern, Gavina menuda, Gavina vulgar
Catalan (Balears): Gavina d’hivern
Valencian: Gavina menuda
Czech: Racek chechtavý
Welsh: Gwylan benddu
Danish: Hættemåge
German: Lachmöve, Lachmöwe
Emiliano-romagnolo: Crucaletta
English: Blackheaded Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Black-headed Gull, Northern Black-headed Gull
Esperanto: ridmevo
Spanish: Gaviota Cabecinegra, Gaviota Encapuchada, Gaviota Minima, Gaviota Reidora
Spanish (Mexico): Gaviota Encapuchada, Gaviota Minima
Spanish (Venezuela): Gaviota Reidora
Estonian: Naerukajakas
Basque: Antxeta mokogorri, Antxeta mokogorria, Gavina vulgar
Finnish: Naurulokki
Faroese: Fransaterna
French: Goéland rieur, Mouette rieuse, Mouette rieuse d’Europe
Frisian: Kob, Kôb, Kobbe, Kôbel, Kôbeler
Irish: Faoileán an chaipín, Faoileán ceanndubh, Sléibhín
Gaelic: Faoileag Dhubh-Cheannach, Fhaoileag a’chinn Duibh
Galician: Gaivota chorona, Gavina vulgar
Manx: Foillan kione doo, Pirragh
Croatian: Rijecni Galeb
Hungarian: Dankasirály
Indonesian: Camar Kepala-hitam
Icelandic: Hettumáfur
Italian: Gabbiano comune
Japanese: Miyako-dori, yurikamome, Yuri-kamome
Greenlandic: Nasalik
Cornish: Scraw
Latin: Chroicocephala ridibundus, Chroicocephalus ridibundus, Larus ridibundus, Larus ridibundus ridibundus
Lithuanian: Rudagalvis kiras, Rudgalvis kiras
Malay: Camar Topeng Hitam
Maltese: Gawwija Rasha Kannella
Dutch: Kokmeeuw
Norwegian: Hettemåke, Lattermåke
Polish: Mewa obrozna, mewa smieszka
Portuguese: guincho, Guincho-comum
Romansh: Muetta rienta
Russian: Ozernaya Chayka
Scots: Fhaoileag a’chinn duibh
Northern Sami: Gahperbáiski
Slovenian: recni galeb
Albanian: Pulëbardha e zakonshme
Serbian: obicni galeb, Recni (obicni) galeb, Recni galeb, rijecni galeb
Swedish: Skrattmås
Swahili: Shakwe Kichwa-kahawia


Travel Birdwatching Holiday Alentejo, Vacation Portugal for birders to see birds on your trip. Guided Birdwatching Tours & Trips.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x