Despite the name, the hood of this gull is actually chocolate brown. Black-headed Gull is similar to Bonaparte's Gull, with which it often associates, but is larger, with a heavier bill. In all plumages, the undersides of the primaries are dark. Alternate Adult: The mantle is pale gray. The primaries (except the outermost) are black. The blackish-brown hood does not extend down the back of the neck. Narrow white crescents surround the back half of the eye. The bill and legs are deep red. In flight, the upperside of the wing shows a white wedge on the leading edge, and a black trailing edge on the primaries. The underside of the wing shows white on the outer two primaries, while the rest of the primaries are blackish. Basic Adult: The head is white with a black auricular patch, smudging around the eye, and a very pale gray hindneck. The legs are red, and the bill is red with a black tip. Juvenile: The head is smudged on the crown and shows a dark auricular patch. The hindneck, back, and scapulars are brown, fading to cinnamon with age. The wing coverts are mostly gray, while the primaries are blackish. The bill and legs are dull pinkish. First Cycle Basic: Back and scapulars are pale gray. Head pattern similar to basic adult. Shows an indistinct dark ulnar bar. Black-tipped bill and legs are orange. In flight, upper surface of wing starts to show white wedge, with some black in the primaries. The inner primaries are dark, as is the trailing edge of the secondaries and the blurry ulnar bar. The tail has a black terminal band. First Cycle Alternate: Attains dark hood, which may be incomplete. Bill and legs are deep red.
Length: 38 (cm) Wingspan: 90 (cm)
Call is a rattling KREE-ahhh.
Nests in freshwater marshes. Winters along coast.
In North America, often found with flocks with Bonaparte's Gulls feeding on mudflats or sewage treatment ponds.
Feeds on terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates, small fish, carrion.
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