Larus ichthyaetus   Pallas,  1773 (Bird)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Aves

Image copyrights: Pbase

Size: 66-72 cm; Length 57-61 cm.

Color: Above, wings and back pale grey with some white edges to wing coverts; head white, hind crown and hind neck brownish with darker streaking and dark patch around eye; breeding adult like non-breeding but with black hood, white eye crescents and white hind neck; primaries with some black in all plumages, white tipped in adults; white leading and trailing edges to spread wings. Immature similar to adult but with brownish mottling on wing coverts and black band on tail. Bare parts: iris dark brown; bill massive, yellow with black band near tip, greyish pink with black tip in immature; feet and legs greenish yellow, grey in immature.

Voice: Loud harsh kraa-a, though seldom in winter.

Habits: Solitary, only rarely in small loose flocks, swims by sitting on water. Scavenger and often indulges in piracy, flight steady. Palearctic migrant.

Sexes alike, largest gull in India, with robust bill, eyes dark, solitary. Non-breeding (winter): Head white with brown and black streaks across hind crown, white-tipped primaries sub-terminally black. Bill stout, yellow with an orange tip banded with black. Breeding (summer): Head and upper neck black with two crescent white patches (one above and one below eye), bill stout, yellow with an orange tip, banded with black, mantle pearl-grey with slaty tinge, remaining plumage pure white, primaries mainly white, the outer ones with sub-terminal black bands and white tips, legs and feet yellowish-green.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Great Black Headed Gull (English)
• Pallas's Gull (English)
• great black-headed gull (English)
Economic Importance and Threats

Habitat:  Estuarine, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Carnivorous (chiefly fish and crustaceans).
IUCN Status:  Least Concern


• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh (Lat: 22.6) (Long: 69.5) INDIA
• Goa, Terekhol Estuary INDIA (Record: 24/01/1982)
• Goa, Mandovi INDIA
• Goa, Morjim beach INDIA
• Goa, Chapora estuary INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.66) (Long: 76.18) INDIA
• Kerala, Kol wetlands (Lat: 10.33) (Long: 75.96) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • (2001) Sanctuary Asia natural history species: Species checklist: Birds Sanctuary Asia Sanctuary Magazine Available at -
  • UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre Available at -
  • Saha, BC and Dasgupta, JM (1992) Birds of Goa Occasional paper no 143 Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI, Calcutta 20455 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -
  • Kumar, A; Sati, JP; Tak, PC and Alfred, JRB (2005) Handbook on Indian wetland birds and their conservation Zoological Survey of India, Dehra Dun 468 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Lainer, H (2004) Birds of Goa : A reference book The Goa Foundation, Goa 244 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • PBase Available at -
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • (1997) Coastal marine environment of Gujarat 178pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Nameer, PO (2005) Wetlands and waterfowl conservation in kerala with special reference to Ramsar sites kerala environment congress 2005 Centre for environment and development 97-112 Available at - NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2013-02-11

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