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Black-headed gull

What am I?

I am a gull. The black-headed gull is the most common British gull but is less associated with the seaside and harbour than the other gulls.

Where do I come from?

Those in Britain and Ireland mostly stay within the British Isles. Many from Scandinavia, northern Europe and Russia cross the North Sea and winter here.

A bit about me

This is the most inland of the gulls, the one you find at landfill sites and rubbish tips. They are a noisy, squabbling gull. In summer they have a white head and a dark chocolate brown hood, not black as their name suggests. Their head only appears black from a distance. In winter they have a white head with a black ear spot as shown in the picture.

Local spotlight

Breeds on coastal marshes to upland pools, widespread but local. Often numerous and widespread at other times from coasts to farmland, reservoirs, refuse tips, and along rivers through towns and rivers. There has been a decline recently of numbers in winter for reasons that may be linked to climate change.

Conservation status

I’m amber listed in the UK

My name might not be listed in the Solent’s Special Protection Areas but I am still definitely important for the coastal ecosystem and form part of the waterbird assemblages which these regions are protected for.

Fun fact

Their lifespan is 10 to 15 years, although the oldest ringed bird survived over 30 years.