Skuas, Gulls & Terns

Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)

Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus). Photo: Seán Ronayne

The most common small gull in Ireland, the Black-headed Gull has a distinctive raspy, raucous call, often heard as a ruckus when people throw bread to feed waterfowl at a local pond or river.

In the following recoding you can hear some typical raspy shrieks as well as a more melancholic, cleaner call, given by a number of birds feeding on an outflow:

Common (Mew) Gull (Larus canus)

Common Gull (Larus canus). Photo: Seán Ronayne.

Another, relatively common sight along the Irish coastline, and often in grassy fields, Common Gulls are larger than Black-headed Gulls, yet smaller than Herring Gulls.

Common Gulls have a very distinctive long-call, which is used as a territorial display. Long calls can be heard at any time of the year and do not necessarily have to be given on territory, they are regularly given by birds marking a piece of bread, for example. In the following recording you can hear the laughing, high-pitched long call of an adult Common Gull:

European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus). Photo: Seán Ronayne

European Herring Gull, is perhaps the most iconic of our gulls – the long-calls of which immediately evoke images of the seaside in summer.

Listen to the following audio to hear the typical, high-pitched, fast-paced “keeya – kya-kya-kya” style long calls of an adult European Herring Gull: