Larus melanocephalus - Mediterranean gull:

Summary Information
Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Laridae / Larus / Species

This section is currently predominantly used in Wildpro to link different data types and demonstrate inter-relationships. Although it identifies that taxonomic interrelationships of species (see "header") it does not currently contain detailed information on the bird species itself. As Wildpro is developed, we will gradually convert these pages into full Species pages.

The taxonomy of birds is still under review and the A World Checklist of Birds by Burt L. Monroe, Jr and Charles G. Sibley (B89) has been chosen as the primary reference. The taxonomic structure will be amended when new editions or complete references are identified by the scientific world as the recognized primary references for taxonomy.

Alternative Names
Distribution Europe. (B89)
  • Britain: Scarce annual visitor. (B45, B164)
  • London: A few birds may be seen, e.g. in 1997-98, a peak count of five individuals on the Thames Estuary in April. (B45)
  • In the London Area, "regular winter visitor and passage migrant." May be a dozen or so individuals across this area in a given winter month, at a wide range of sites. (J322.65.w1)

Habitat Breeding - "Mainly coastal lagoons and estuaries, large inland lakes." (B163)
Further Information Appearance: 
  • Adult: White, with black hood; wings pale grey with white tips. In winter, head white but with grey smudge through the eye. (B17, B164)
  • Juvenile: Upperparts grey, strongly scalloped, outer wing black, tail white with broad black terminal band. (B17, B164).
  • Bill: fairly large, orange-red/blood red with a black band near the tip (in juvenile, dark). (B17, B164)
  • Feet and legs: reddish-brown or red (brighter in summer than in winter. (B17, B164)
  • Eye: Dark, with white eye ring. (B17, B164)


  • food - mainly aquatic invertebrates; sometimes fish
  • feeding behaviour - "uses surface dipping, surface diving and up-ending: scavenges at rubbish dumps and at sea for fish offal." (B163)


  • location and structure - ground nesting; scrape (lined with grass and feathers).
  • nest building - male and female
  • breeding structure - monogamous


  • markings - Patterned
  • number of eggs - 3 (2)
  • broods - 1 brood
  • incubation - by male and female; 23-25 days


  • development - semi precocial, stays in nest, fed by parents
  • parental caring for young - by male and female
  • fledging - 35-40 days

(B163, B164)

Organisations (UK Contacts):

Electronic Library (further reading):

General Legislation:

  • This species is listed on Schedule 1 - Part I (Birds protected by special penalties: Notes on the revised schedules state "Birds protected by special penalties at all times") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)

Individual techniques:

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