192 Mediterranean Gull
(Larus melanocephalus)


37-40cm. Mediterranean Gull has three age-groups. A trifle larger than Black-headed Gull, with shorter, thicker, more obtuse bill; less pointed, broader, slightly shorter wings; and longer legs. Flight with quicker and stiffer wingbeats than Common Gull. Adult: Unmistakable; all-white flight-feathers, very pale grey upperparts (silvery-white at distance), scarlet bill and legs (less bright in winter), and large black hood (dark ‘mask’ in winter). 1st-year: Resembles Common Gull, but differs in all-white underwing-coverts, paler grey midwing-panel, slightly thinner tail-band, reddish-based dark or wholly black bill, reddish or black legs, and (from Sep) paler grey upperparts, dark ‘mask’ (or partial hood in 1st summer) and white underparts. 2nd-year: Like adult, but with variable, small black markings on wing-tip.


The Mediterranean Gull is a regular breeder in small numbers in Hungary. Migrates in small numbers in spring (March-May) and in autumn (early June-October), and a few birds (mostly immatures) can oversummer. Local breeders leave the country usually by early August. Breeds locally, in certain Common Black-headed Gull colonies. Its Hungarian population increased significantly in the 1990s. Apart from its most typical breeding sites in the great plain (Lake Fehér near Szeged, fishponds of Kis-Sárrét, Soponya Fishpond, Rétszilas Fishponds and Kelemen-szék) it has colonised the Kis-Balaton, the restored habitat near Fertőújlak, the Hanság and the Hortobágy. The Danube is of great importance during migration.

192 Mediterranean Gull pic

© Graphics by Szabolcs Kókay

Source: 1) Lovászi Péter (editor): Javasolt különleges madárvédelmi területek Magyarországon, Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2002; 2) BirdLife International:IUCN Red List for birds. Species factsheet; 3) Králl Attila, Nagy Károly: Fontos Madárélőhelyek Magyarországon (Területek, kritériumok és minősítő fajok) MME Monitoring Központ, 2007; 4) Szabolcs Kókay bird illustrations; 5) www.hungarianbirdwatching.com bird descriptions and checklists, 2004-2012; 6) Lars Svensson et al.: Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe 2nd Edition, Harper Collins, 2010; 7) MME Nomenclator Bizottság: Nomenclator avium Hungariae. An annotated list of the birds of Hungary. Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület, 2008