Black-headed Gull

Larus ridibundus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Birds
  3. Gulls and seabirds
  4. Black-headed Gull


The black-headed gull is a familiar sight on farmland, wetland and coastal habitats throughout Britain. It nests on saltmarshes and islands in flooded gravel pits and reservoirs and sometimes forms very large, noisy colonies. There are about 140,000 breeding pairs in Britain and about 1.7 million wintering birds each year.

How to identify

The commonest small gull, the black-headed gull actually has a chocolate-brown head during the summer which turns white for the rest of the year. It is silvery-grey above and white below with red legs, a red bill and black wingtips.

Where to find it



When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Although black-headed gulls are relatively common birds and can be spotted in towns and cities, the non-breeding population in the UK is in decline. To ensure that we keep populations of black-headed gulls and other seabirds healthy, it is important that our marine environment is managed properly. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas' where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Black-headed Gull
Latin name
Larus ridibundus
Gulls and seabirds
Length: 35-38cm Wingspan: 1m Weight: 250-330g Average Lifespan: 11 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.