Kingdom Animalia
Click to hear the call  Click to watch the video
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Laridae
Genus Larus
Species ridibundus
Classification Linnaeus, 1766
Common black-headed gull
Size 37 - 43 centimeters
Wing Span 94 - 105 centimeters
Male weight 225 - 350 grams
Female weight 225 - 350 grams

Geographic Range it is possible to find it from Iceland down through the majority of Europe and central Asia.
Physical Characteristics it is easily distinguishable in the mating period by its dark brown hood. The wing tips are grey; paws are red like the beak. The lower parts of the body and the tail are white. Secondary feathers are grey tipped with white, while the outer primary feathers are white with black tips. During winter it has a black spot behind the eye. The colour of the plumage of the juvenile birds tends to be brown and they have a black terminal tail band.
Call it gives out a hoarse call; it is a very noisy species.
Behaviour though it is a marine species, it is often found in cultivated and urban areas. It forages by swimming and snatching food form the water surface or submerging its head under the water surface. Adults are more efficient in their search for food than immature birds, which are more brazen in approaching humans, thus gaining a better chance to secure food. When food is scarce, the black-headed gull steals prey caught by a member of the same species or by different species.
Habitat lakes, ponds, wide beds of reed, marshes, shore ponds, urban centres.
Alimentazione it is omnivorous: it feeds mainly on animals and particularly on insects and worms, but also on plants and trash.
Migration northern populations are migratory. The birds living at lower latitudes tend to be resident. Most of the individuals of the northern Palearctic area live in wetlands of central and northern Europe but they migrate towards the Mediterranean basin during winter. The birds that build their nest in Scandinavia migrate towards Bretaigne, even if most of them fly more south and reach the Atlantic coast of western Africa.
Nidification it builds the nest in vast colonies which occupy big surfaces. The distance between one nest and the other is 5 meters but it may be lowered to one meter in more populated colonies (with more than 100 pairs). The nest is 50 centimeters large and it is placed on the ground or among wetland low vegetation. The female lays in average three eggs for each clutch and the incubation may last from 22 to 26 days. Usually there is only one clutch between the end of April and the beginning of July; sometimes there can be a substitutive clutch at the beginning of July. Once the pair has established in the colony it becomes very territorial and defends its nidification area from intruders that may even belong to the same species. They mark their territory delimiting an area that may range from 9 to 12 square metres. The borders of such an area are subject to modifications due to fights with neighbour pairs.

References Oiseaux.net
University of Michigan - Museum of Zoology
Web References http://www.oiseaux.net/
Source of the photo http://www.oiseaux.net/ordre.html
Source of the call http://sunsite.ee/loomad/
Source of the video http://www.mangoverde.com/

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