Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Brown-headed Gull (Larus brunnicephalus)


Taxonomy

French: Mouette du Tibet German: Braunkopfmöwe Spanish: Gaviota centroasiática
Taxonomy:

Larus brunnicephalus

Jerdon

, 1840,

west coast of Indian Peninsula

.

Some recent authors place this species and other “masked gulls” in genus Chroicocephalus (see L. philadelphia, above). Sometimes treated as a race of L. ridibundus, the Pamir population showing characteristics intermediate between the two species. Monotypic.

Distribution:

Mountains of SC Asia, between 3000 m and at least 4500 m: Turkestan and W China (W Xinjiang), and S to Pamirs (L Kara-Kul), Ladakh and Tibet. Winters on coasts of India, N Sri Lanka and SE Asia, sparingly W to Arabian Peninsula.

Descriptive notes

41–45 cm; 450–714 g. Two-year gull. Larger, stockier and flatter-crowned than the Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus, with which it is often found in... read more

Voice

A raucous "keear" or "geek", deeper and gruffer than in Black-headed Gull. Also a loud, wailing "ko... read more

Habitat

Breeds on islands in large, cold, high altitude lakes of varying salinity, or in adjacent marshes,... read more

Food and feeding

Fish, shrimps, offal; also insects, grubs, slugs, earthworms, sewage, potatoes, rodents and plant shoots; occasionally winged termites.... read more

Breeding

Returns to colonies in May; lays from end of May, mainly in early Jun, even when lakes still frozen. Colonies of c. 50 pairs, but reports... read more

Movements

Migrates over mountains to coasts of S Asia; fairly common in Nepal, where some remain to winter.... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The global population is not known with any precision but the species seems to be quite numerous; a provisional estimate suggests 100... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2017). Brown-headed Gull (Larus brunnicephalus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/53988 on 23 July 2017).