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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.

Habitat

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

Distribution

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.

Behaviour

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.

Breeding

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: © 
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