• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer

Black-headed Gull


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A common gull of the Old World, Black-headed Gull is a rare, but regular visitor to eastern North America.


Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small gull.
  • White triangle in outer part of wing.
  • Blackish under tip of wing.
  • Back pale gray.
  • Underparts white.
  • Head dark brown during breeding.
  • Dark spot behind eyes in winter.

Immature Description

Juvenile with much brown on head, neck, and back, a dark bar across the wing, and a black tail tip. Immature similar to nonbreeding adult, but with brownish black bar across the base of the wing, much black in the outer wing, and a black band across the tip of the tail. In first breeding plumage the black head is partly mottled with white.

Range Map Help

Black-headed Gull Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adult nonbreeding

    Black-headed Gull

    Adult nonbreeding
    • © Keith Walton / CLO
  • First winter

    Black-headed Gull

    First winter
    • © 2004 Kevin J. McGowan

Similar Species

  • Bonaparte's Gull has a shorter and thinner black bill, and lacks blackish under the outer wing feathers.
  • Little Gull has a shorter and thinner black bill, blackish under all of the wing feathers, and lacks a white triangle on top of the wing.
  • Immature Black-legged Kittiwake shows a bolder "M" across the back and has a black line across the nape of its neck.



    Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
    bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

    The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell or give your email address to others.