Family:Gulls and terns
36cm to 38cm
92cm to 100cm
230g to 280g
The Mediterranean gull has an all-black coloured head in the breeding season and is slightly larger than the black-headed gull. Adults have white tips on their wings with white underwings. Younger birds have more marks on their wings. The beak is large and bright red when the bird is an adult.
Until the 1950s, these birds were extremely rare in the UK. Nowadays, the Mediterranean gull is common in the winter and is gradually increasing.
Their diets consist of fish, offal, carrion and insects.
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
© 2023 - Birdfact. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced without our written permission.