Black-headed Gull Life History


Habitat Lakes and PondsBreeds along lakes, rivers, bogs, moors, grasslands, swamps, and coastal marshes. In winter, found primarily along seacoasts, estuaries, and bays.Back to top


Food OmnivoreInsects, worms, fish, mice, garbage, some seeds and berries.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Shallow scrape lined with pieces of vegetation; in wet sites, built up into substantial mound. Placed on ground in low vegetation.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:1-4 eggs
Egg Description:Dull green to gray, blotched with brown.
Condition at Hatching:Semiprecocial with eyes open. Covered in down. Able to stand within a day, but usually remain quiet in nest for a week.
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Behavior Ground ForagerForages while walking or swimming. Flies along and plucks food from surface of water, or plunges into water to pick food from water. Follows plows. Catches flying insects on the wing.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernBlack-headed Gull are abundant, and expanding their range in Europe. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a population of 40 breeders, and 400 non-breeders in North America, and lists them as a Species of Moderate Concern. They rate a 15 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score and are not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.Back to top


American Ornithologists' Union (1998). Check-list of North American Birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC, USA.

Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

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