Larus minutus , Photo: Michael Lahanas
Larus minutus (*)
Larus minutus Pallas, 1776
Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des Russischen Reichs 3 p.702
The Little Gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus or Larus minutus, is a small gull which breeds in northern Europe and Asia. It also has small colonies in parts of northern Canada. It is migratory, wintering on coasts in western Europe, the Mediterranean and (in small numbers) the northeast USA. As is the case with many gulls, it has traditionally been placed in the genus Larus. It is the only member of the genus Hydrocoloeus, although it has been suggested that Ross's Gull also should be included in this genus.
This is the smallest gull species, with a length of 25–27 cm, a wingspan of 75–80 cm and a weight of 68-133 grammes. It is pale grey in breeding plumage with a black hood, dark underwings and often a pinkish flush on the breast. In winter, the head goes white apart from a darker cap and eye-spot. The bill is thin and black and the legs dark red. The flight on rounded wings is somewhat tern-like.
Young birds have black markings on the head and upperparts, and "W" pattern across the wings. They take three years to reach maturity.
These gulls pick food off the water surface, and will also catch insects in the air like a Black Tern.
* BirdLife International (2004). Larus minutus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License