Black-headed Gull

Colour-mark(s) used:

Blue leg rings, four white characters, always starting with number 2

2, letter, number, number
2, number, number, letter

All birds also carry a BTO metal ring on the opposite leg

Project summary

Project status
Total colour marked
Total sightings
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Ongoing since 2011


The delicate Black-headed Gull is well known all year round to many people, whether they live inland or by the sea. Black-headed Gulls often associate with Man, as they find their food from cultivated land, sports fields, rubbish-tips and sewage-works, and even take food from human hands offering morsels in the centres of cities and towns.

Operating in Northwest England, The Black-headed Gulls we catch and colour-mark are mostly in public areas such as in parks and gardens. All birds are ‘hand selected’ as they try their chances at taking food from the hand! We are therefore not only catching and marking local birds but also migrants from across Europe. Catching birds in public places has the added advantage of us promoting our work to the public, but also increasing our re-sighting rate as the birds readily present themselves to the food offering punters! 

Our study aims to learn more about the seasonal movements of Black-headed Gulls, including studying winter and summer site fidelity, looking at within winter movements and contribute to survival information.

Update from the 2020/2021 season
Where are they?

Each Spring and Summer we receive sightings of our birds across Europe. Use the link below to check out the latest maps to find out where they are this year.

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