Great Black-headed Gull

Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus (Pallas, 1773) GBHGU 5730
Family: Charadriiformes > Laridae

Great Black-headed Gull, Simon Gillings

A 'does what it says on the tin' name (it is also known as Pallas' Gull), Great Black-headed Gull is an extremely rare visitor from south-eastern Europe, with one accepted record (1859).

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Great Black-headed Gull

  • Breeding
  • Winter
35 records observations recorded by BTO surveyors
35 records


35 records observations recorded by BTO surveyors
35 records



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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.


We have no population estimates for this scarce species.


In winter, Great Black-backed Gulls occur around the coast of Britain & Ireland, as well as at inland, lowland sites in England and Scotland. They breed mostly along the coast, though are largely absent from most of the North Sea coast between Lothian and Kent. Densities are highest in the Northern Isles, northwest Scotland and western Ireland.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.


Lifecycle and body size information about Great Black-headed Gull, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.


Sample sizes are too small to report Productivity and Nesting statistics for this species.


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Catalan: gavinot capnegre
Czech: racek velký
Danish: Stor Sorthovedet Måge
Dutch: Reuzenzwartkopmeeuw
Estonian: stepikajakas
Finnish: mustapäälokki
French: Goéland ichthyaète
German: Fischmöwe
Hungarian: halászsirály
Icelandic: Fiskimáfur
Italian: Gabbiano di Pallas
Latvian: zivju kaija
Lithuanian: kiras kvatoklis
Norwegian: Steppemåke
Polish: (mewa) orlica
Portuguese: gaivotão-de-cabeça-preta
Slovak: cajka orlia
Slovenian: ribji galeb
Spanish: Gavión cabecinegro
Swedish: svarthuvad trut

Links to more information from

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