Family:Gulls and terns
52cm to 60cm
130cm to 158cm
The Iceland gull is smaller than the closely related herring gull and is considered a medium-sized member of the gull family. They have a dove-like expression on their face, this is due to the smaller beak and rounded head. The Iceland gull has light coloured plumage all over, with accompanying white wingtips, just like the glaucous gull.
These birds visit the UK during winter, and spends their breeding time in the Arctic. They are known to travel as far south as New York in the winter, in some cases.
Their diets consist mainly of fish - either alive or carrion.
Named in honour of the French naturalist and ornithologist, Jean Victor Audouin (1797 – 1841) the Audouin’s gull is one of the world’s rarest and is limited in the main to regions within and surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Terns are water birds from the family Sternidae and are expert fish catchers. There are generally considered to be forty five separate species of terns worldwide. Generally smaller than gulls but with long tails, thin bodies and short legs, they are long distance migrants.
There are four sub-species of the common gull with the European variant being the nominate. The other three are the Russian, Kamchatka and American, which are all predominantly confined to the geographical region attributed by their name. There are subtle differences in plumage and overall size of bird between sub-species.
The title of Black-headed Gull is rather a misnomer for this bird as its head is not black but a dark brown colour and only in adult birds during the breeding season. It is not present during the winter months or in other plumages. Unlike many gulls it is not restricted to coastal regions and is widespread inland in both rural and urban areas.
A graceful tern, easily distinguishable in their black summer plumage, which they're named after.
Get the latest BirdFacts delivered straight to your inbox
© 2022 - Bird Fact. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced without our written permission.