Black-headed Gull

Larus ridibundus

The name for this species is actually quite misleading, as adults show a dark brown hood, whose distal edge falls at the back of the crown, rather than extending across the entire head (like in Laughing, Franklin’s or Little Gulls). Black-headed Gulls are annual in the Pribilofs, and are possible from early May through late July. They often arrive on the leading edge of a strong westerly storm system, but can occur without the assistance of the weather. Good places to look for this elegant gull are in any concentration of sitting Kittiwakes or in any of the bathing congregations of kittiwakes that are always present in Weather Bureau and Big Lakes. Look for their small size (relative to the kittiwakes), thin red bills, white leading edge to the upperwing, white outer primaries with black tips and black on the undersurface of all but the two outer primaries. First summer birds will usually show some of the dark hood. Little and Bonaparte’s Gulls are smaller still, with black bills and full black heads.