Birda Logo
Species Guide
A photo of a Pallas's Gull (Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus)
Pallas's Gull

Pallas's Gull

Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus

The Pallas's gull, also known as the great black-headed gull, is a majestic avian species, Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus, that stands as the world's largest black-headed gull and ranks as the third largest gull species globally. With its impressive size, this bird is a sight to behold.

Identification Tips

Adult Pallas's gulls are unmistakable with their striking black hoods during the summer. Their wings and back are a sleek grey, adorned with prominent white "mirrors" at the wing tips. The legs are a vibrant yellow, while the bill is a warm orangey-yellow with a red tip. In other plumages, a dark mask through the eye hints at the hood's presence. The wing chord ranges from 43.5 to 52 cm, the bill from 4.7 to 7.3 cm, and the tarsus from 6.5 to 8.4 cm.


Pallas's gulls breed in colonies located in marshes and islands, preferring the solitude and resources these environments offer.


This species has a breeding range that spans from southern Russia to Mongolia. It is migratory, seeking warmer climates in the eastern Mediterranean, Arabia, and India during winter. While it is a rare visitor to western Europe, it has been recorded as a vagrant in various parts of the Indian Ocean, south of its typical range, and along the northern and eastern coasts of Africa.


Pallas's gulls exhibit predatory behavior, feeding on fish, crustaceans, insects, and occasionally small mammals. They are known for their deep, nasal flight-call, reminiscent of the lesser black-backed gull's call. At colonies, they can be quite vocal, but they tend to be mostly silent when breeding.

Song & Calls

The call of the Pallas's gull is a resonant aargh cry, which can be heard echoing over their breeding grounds.


These gulls nest on the ground, where they lay between two and four eggs. They take four years to reach maturity, with young birds developing largely grey upperparts quite rapidly.

Diet and Feeding

The Pallas's gull is a formidable predator, taking a variety of prey including fish, crustaceans, insects, and small mammals to sustain itself.

Conservation status

The Pallas's gull is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating that, for now, this species does not face immediate threats to its survival.

Pallas's Gull Sounds

Recorded by: © 
App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Pallas's Gulls on Birda


More Gulls, Terns, Skimmers

Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Jake W
Great app
I use this app all the time as it’s quick and easy to log individual sightings or whole birding sessions. It’s an excellent way to meet new people and the forum is full of really friendly people. The challenges are a great way to get involved and learn more about birds. Cannot recommend it enough!
Learning Birding with Birda
I’m relatively new to birding as a hobby, and Birda is a great way to keep track off all the species I see. I’m still working on my ID skills, but the app is great for figuring out potential species, and the online community is so friendly and helpful. Definitely recommend Birda to both early and serious birders! 🐦
Robred 2
Fun way to add to your birdwatching experience
I enjoy watching birds in my backyard, but this app helped me really pay attention while on vacation this summer. It was fun to add new birds to my bird watching app.
Patricia L
Very encouraging birding app
Easy to use, fun to see progress and encouraging to receive feedback from other users.
Bryan C
Clean and easy to use
Really enjoying this app, it's clean and easy to use. I love the ease of being able to add those one-off birds without starting a whole checklist. I also like the social aspect, like the parts of my Facebook I like, without the ads and junk, just birds. Can't wait to see it become more populated.
Such a great app!
I didn’t think I could enjoy birding more but this app makes it so much better. Some great features and a really great way to share your sightings with your friends or fellow birders nearby or around the world! ❤️
Alex J
Friendly and helps to identify birds
Great birding app, good for logging your sightings, also has nice species guide. I'm enjoying the social aspect more than I expected, everyone seems friendly and helps to identify unknown birds. Good mix of newbies and experienced users.
Birda fan
I really enjoy using Birda, all sightings are recorded and photos can be added. There are monthly challenges which help to get you out to record your sightings. The Birda community are great and are happy to help with unidentified bird sightings. Suitable for all ages and experience!
The best bird logging app
Birda is honestly the best bird logging app I have seen. I love all the features it has from being able to do a session and log all the birds you see in one sitting, to being able to connect with other birders from all over the globe!
Great App
Great app to use for logging and communicating with others who are interested in birds
As featured in
Birda Logo
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.