Friday, 13 February 2015

B.O.T.D. Black-Headed Gull

B.O.T.D. Feb 13, 2015

Black-Headed Gull (Chroiocephalus ridibundus)

Black-headed Gulls are a regular, and increasing, attraction for birders in Atlantic Canada. The odd one out can be found cavorting with large gatherings of Bonaparte's Gulls in autumn, and numbers increase after their smaller relatives leave. The often-raucous concentrations of gull in Newfoundland's harbours and field roosts usually have a small number of these wanderers. This gull is also a rare visitor to the Great Lakes region during migration.

The Black-Headed Gull is a relative new-comer to Canada. The first sighting in North America was recorded in the 1920s, and the first Canadian nesting record occurred in 1977. Since then, small nesting colonies have been established on islands off the coast of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Quebec, and it may be just a matter of time before the species nests in Ontario.

In North America, there are many gulls with black heads. Ironically, the Black-Headed Gull has a chocolate brown head, which can easily be mistaken for black in the misty conditions that sometimes envelop Atlantic Canada's coasts.