Black-headed Gull

photo by Phil Swanson

Larus ridibundus
L 16″ (41 cm) W 40″ (102 cm).

Song or calls:
Laughing call.

Description: Sexes similar. Breeding adults show dark brown hood, red bill and legs, pale gray back, black wing tips, and white underparts. Winter adult lacks dark hood; has black spot behind eye, red bill and legs. First summer bird similar to breeding adult but has an incomplete hood. First winter birds and juveniles show a yellow bill with a dark tip, yellow legs, dark spot behind eye, no hood, and brown on wings.

Habitat: Inland freshwater habitats and coastal regions.

Where in Nebraska: Accidental. Seen at Walgren Lake, Sheridan County during August of 1979.

Field Notes: An Old World species that has colonized eastern North America.

Fun Facts: Ironically, the Black-Headed Gull has a dark chocolate brown hood during breeding. Other hooded gulls have black heads during breeding.

Black-headed Gull flying - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)