Larus melanocephalus relictus
Some recent authors place this species and other “black-headed gulls” in genus Ichthyaetus (see L. ichthyaetus). Present species originally described as a race of L. melanocephalus, and then known only from one specimen; subsequently suspected of being an aberrant L. brunnicephalus or a hybrid L. brunnicephalus × L. ichthyaetus. Since breeding colonies discovered in 1970, almost universally considered a distinct species. Monotypic.
E Kazakhstan (L Balkhash, L Alakol)#R, E Russia (L Barun-Torey, in S Transbaikalia), Mongolia, and China (where largest colonies thought to exist) in Inner Mongolia (Edsin Gol at Tsondol, Taolimiao–Alashan Nur, Maowusu Desert) and Shaanxi (Honjian Nur)#R#R#R. Winter quarters still essentially unknown: some winter in S Korea; large numbers recorded at Bohai Bay (E China)#R, and there is evidence that some winter inland on the N Qinghai–Tibet plateau.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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