Mediterranean gull

The Mediterranean gull (Ichthyaetus melanocephalus) is a small gull. The scientific name is from Ancient Greek. The genus Ichthyaetus is from ikhthus, "fish", and aetos, "eagle", and the specific melanocephalus is from melas, "black", and -kephalos "-headed".[2]

This gull breeds almost entirely in the Western Palearctic, mainly in the south east, especially around the Black Sea, and in central Turkey. There are colonies elsewhere in southern Europe, and this species has undergone a dramatic range expansion in recent decades. As is the case with many gulls, it has traditionally been placed in the genus Larus.

Mediterranean gull
Larus melanocephalus aka Mediterranean Gull rare guest in Sweden2
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Ichthyaetus
I. melanocephalus
Binomial name
Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
(Temminck, 1820)
Range of I. melanocephalus     Breeding      Resident      Non-breeding

Larus melanocephalus

Adult and second-summer Mediterranean gulls, Den Hoorn, North Holland (2011)


The Mediterranean gull is slightly larger and bulkier than the black-headed gull with a heavier bill and longer, darker legs. The breeding plumage adult is a distinctive white gull, with a very pale grey mantle and wings with white primary feathers without black tips. The black hood extends down the nape and shows distinct white eye crescents.[3] The blunt tipped, parallel sided, dark red bill has a black subterminal band. The non breeding adult is similar but the hood is reduced to an extensive dusky "bandit" mask through the eye. This bird takes two years to reach maturity. First year birds have a black terminal tail band and more black areas in the upperwings, but have pale underwings.


Formerly restricted to the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean this species has now expanded over most of Europe as far as Great Britain and Ireland, with 37 sites: 543–592 pairs in the United Kingdom in 2008.[4] In Ireland breeding has been recorded in at least four counties. Breeding has also occurred in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Balkans.

In winter, this bird migrates to Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts.


Larus melanocephalus MWNH 0341
Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden

This gull breeds in colonies in large reed beds or marshes, or on islands in lakes; where its population is small, it nests in black-headed gull colonies. Like most gulls, it is highly gregarious in winter, both when feeding or in evening roosts. It is not a pelagic species, and is rarely seen at sea far from coasts.

The Mediterranean gull's feeding habits are much an opportunistic omnivore, eating fish, worms, scraps, insects, offal and carrion.

This is a noisy species, especially at colonies, with a nasal "yeah" call.


The Mediterranean gull is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

Med gull southend
Southend Pier, UK


  1. ^ Butchart, S.; Symes, A. (2015). "Larus melanocephalus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T22694443A85050054. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 224, 246. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ Peterson, R.; Mountfort, G.; Hollom, P.A.S. (1967). A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. Collins.
  4. ^ Holling, Mark (September 2010). "Rare breeding birds in the United Kingdom in 2008" (PDF). British Birds. Rare Breeding Birds Panel. 103: 482–538.

External links

Andean gull

The Andean gull (Chroicocephalus serranus) is a species of gull in the family Laridae. As is the case with many gulls, it has traditionally been placed in the genus Larus.

It is found in the Andes in mountainous regions of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. It is unusual for a gull in that it breeds inland in mountain areas. It may be variously found around rivers, freshwater lakes, saline marshes, and pastureland.

Aydıncık Nature Park

Aydıncık Nature Park is a nature park in Turkey. It is at 36°08′52″N 33°21′38″E and situated to the east of Aydıncık ilçe (district) of Mersin Province. Its distance to Aydıncık centrum is about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) and to Mersin is about 170 kilometres (110 mi). Gilindire Cave is to the east of the nature park. It was declared a picnic area in 1988 and a nature park in 2011.

The park is at the east side of Aydıncık bay, facing Aydıncık Islands and the town.

The total area of the park is 23.7 hectares (59 acres). The natural flora consists of Turkish pine (Pinus brutia), myrtle (myrtus communis), kermes oak (quercus coccifera) and laurel (laurus nobilis), and spini broom (calicotome villosa). Mediterranean gull (chthyaetus melanocephalus), Mediterranean monk seal (monachus monachus ) and various small reptiles make up the fauna around the park.

Bird Island, Slovakia

Bird Island is 6.86-hectare (17.0-acre) island in the Hrušovská zdrž (2518 ha), which is part of Gabčíkovo Reservoir, south-west of Šamorín, Slovakia. The island was built because of the constructions of the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros dams on the Danube as habitat compensation for areas consequently flooded. The island is part of proposed special protected areas Dunajské luhy for waterbirds. The most important breeding birds are Mediterranean gull (Larus melanocephalus), which is the only breeding site in Slovakia, and common redshank (Tringa totanus), for which it is the only breeding site in West Slovakia. Access is prohibited during the breeding and wintering seasons.

Brown-hooded gull

The brown-hooded gull (Chroicocephalus maculipennis) is a species of gull found in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the Falkland Islands, and Uruguay. Its specific epithet, maculipennis, means 'spotted wings' (macula + penna). It is a white bird with a brown head and red beak and feet.

Chapel St Leonards

Chapel St. Leonards is a village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated 5 miles (8 km) north from the resort of Skegness.

The village is a location for caravan park holidays, is next to several miles of beach, and close to Fantasy Island, market towns, and the Lincolnshire Wolds.

A landmark is Chapel Point, 1 mile (1.6 km) north from the centre of the village. It has a restored part of a major Second World War coastal defence line retaining the viewing platform. The adjacent North Sea Observatory, a futuristic, iconic visitors' centre using high quality materials and high-weatherproofing providing a comfortable facility for year-round use, was constructed between 2016–2018.In recent years Chapel Point has become a location for birdwatchers, being visited by migrating birds such as the Mediterranean gull.


Chroicocephalus is a genus of medium to relatively small gulls which were included in the genus Larus until recently. Some authorities also include the Saunders's gull in Chroicocephalus. The genus name Chroicocephalus is from Ancient Greek khroizo, "to colour", and kephale, "head".Representatives of this genus are found in regions/subregions all over the world, each species usually being confined to a region.

Copeland Islands

The Copeland Islands is a group of three islands in the north Irish Sea, north of Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland consisting of Lighthouse, Mew and Copeland Island. They lie within the civil parish of Bangor.

Gull-billed tern

The gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica), formerly Sterna nilotica, is a tern in the family Laridae. It is now considered to be in its own genus. The genus name is from Ancient Greek gelao, "to laugh", and khelidon, "swallow". The specific niloticus is from Latin and means of the Nile.

Hybridisation in gulls

Hybridisation in gulls occurs quite frequently, although to varying degrees depending on the species involved.


Ichthyaetus is a genus of gulls. The genus name is from Ancient Greek ikhthus, "fish", and aetos, "eagle". They were previously included in the genus Larus.

Jacques Van Impe

Jacques Van Impe (born January 15, 1941) is a Belgian academic widely published in the field of ornithology. His research is particularly focused on reproduction in the greater white-fronted goose, the bean goose (Anser fabalis rossicus), the Eurasian oystercatcher, the pied avocet, the northern lapwing, the black-tailed godwit, and the common redshank.

Lake Bolluk

Lake Bolluk is a lake in Turkey.

The lake is in Cihanbeyli ilçe (district) of Konya Province at 38°32′25″N 32°56′34″E. It is situated to the east of the highway D.715, which connects Ankara to Silifke and to the west of Lake Tuz. The area of the lake is 11.5 square kilometres (4.4 sq mi). Its elevation with respect to sea level is 940 metres (3,080 ft). The hard water of the lake contains sodium. Rrecently, there are two threats to lake; the underground water level falls as a result of excessive irrigation and the creeks, which feed the lake, are polluted. World Water Forum Turkey conducts a project to protect the lake.


Leucophaeus is a small genus of medium-sized New World gulls, most of which are dark in plumage, usually with white crescents above and below the eyes. They were placed in the genus Larus until recently. The genus name Leucophaeus is from Ancient Greek leukos, "white", and phaios, "dusky".

List of endemic birds of the Western Palearctic

The following is a list of the restricted-range endemic bird species found in the Western Palearctic region:

Algerian nuthatch

Atlantic canary

Balearic warbler

Berthelot's pipit

Blue chaffinch

Bolle's pigeon

Cape Verde swamp warbler

Caucasian black grouse

Caucasian snowcock

Corsican finch

Corsican nuthatch

Cyprus warbler

Cyprus wheatear

Fuerteventura chat

Iago sparrow

Krüper's nuthatch

Laurel pigeon

Madeira firecrest

Plain swift

Raso lark

Scottish crossbill

Spanish imperial eagle

Tenerife goldcrest

Trocaz pigeonIn addition the following species are endemic to the region:

Northern bald ibis

Rock partridge

Red-legged partridge

Barbary partridge

Cory's shearwater

Cape Verde shearwater

European storm-petrel

European shag

Red kite

Levant sparrowhawk

Mediterranean gull

White-eyed gull

Audouin's gull

Red-necked nightjar

Middle spotted woodpecker

Iberian green woodpecker

European green woodpecker

Levaillant's woodpecker

European crested tit

Sardinian warbler

Dartford warbler

Citril finchThe following are near-endemics

Squacco heron

Pacific gull

The Pacific gull (Larus pacificus) is a very large gull, native to the coasts of Australia. It is moderately common between Carnarvon in the west, and Sydney in the east, although it has become scarce in some parts of the south-east, as a result of competition from the kelp gull, which has "self-introduced" since the 1940s.

Much larger than the ubiquitous silver gull, and nowhere near as common, Pacific gulls are usually seen alone or in pairs, loafing around the shoreline, steadily patrolling high above the edge of the water, or (sometimes) zooming high on the breeze to drop a shellfish or sea urchin onto rocks.

Relict gull

The relict gull or Central Asian gull (Ichthyaetus relictus) is a medium-sized gull. It was believed to be an eastern race of the Mediterranean gull until 1971 and was traditionally placed in the genus Larus.

Ring-billed gull

The ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis) is a medium-sized gull. The genus name is from Latin Larus which appears to have referred to a gull or other large seabird. The specific delawarensis refers to the Delaware River.

Yelkenli Island

Yelkenli Island (Turkish: Yelkenli Ada, literally "sailboat Island) is a Mediterranean island in Turkey. It is administratively a part of Aydıncık ilçe (district) of Mersin Province at 36°08′19″N 33°21′55″E.The uninhabited island has an area of only 650 square metres (7,000 sq ft). The island is almost merged to the mainland (Anatolia) and close to the Aydıncık Cave a famous cave. Aydıncık Islands are about 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) to the west. Yelkenli Island is known as a breeding location of Mediterranean gull and Mediterrean monk seal.

Yellow-footed gull

The yellow-footed gull (Larus livens) is a large gull, closely related to the western gull and thought to be a subspecies until the 1960s. It is endemic to the Gulf of California.

Gulls (family: Laridae)

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