1139. LITTLE GULL.
Larus minutus, Pall. Reise Russ. Reichs, iii. p. 702 (1771) ; Naum. x. p. 242, Taf. 258 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 490, pl. cxxxiv. fig. 1 ; (Gould), B. of E. v. pl. 428 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. v. pl. 66 ; Dresser, viii. p. 373, pls. 599, 599A ; Saunders, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxv. p. 173 ; id. Manual, p. 663 ; (Tacz.), F. O. Sib. O. p. 1043 ; Lilford, vi. p. 37, pl. 18 ; Ridgway, p. 36.
Mouette pygmee, French ; Gaviota, Span. ; Gabbianello, Ital. ; Zwergmowe, German ; Dwerg-meeuw, Dutch ; Dvoergmaage, Dan. Dvargmas, Swed. ; Pikhu-lokki, Finn. ; Tschaika-malaya, Russ.
Male ad. (Ladoga). Hood deep black ; lower neck, rump, upper tail-coverts, tail, and under parts white, the last tinged with rose-pink ; mantle delicate French-grey ; quills grey broadly edged with white, the margins of the inner webs smoke-grey ; under wing-coverts dark smoke-grey ; bill blackish lake-red ; legs and feet vermilion-red ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.9, wing 8.8, tail 3.6, tarsus 0.95 inch. In winter the head is white, the crown, and nape tinged with grey, the legs and feet yellowish red.
Hab. North-eastern Europe ; rare in Norway and Sweden ; Fin¬land to Uleaborag ; Russia to Archangel ; has once been obtained in the Faeroes ; of irregular occurrence in Britain ; in winter it ranges south to the Mediterranean and North Africa ; North Asia, east to the Sea of Ochotsk, but rare in South-east Siberia and has not been recorded from Mongolia or China ; has once been obtained in India ; an accidental straggler to Bermuda and the eastern United States (Long Island).
Frequents inland waters and marshes, feeding on small fish and insects. Its flight is graceful and easy, and its note is a laughing kerr, arrr, arrr arr, which it utters when disturbed. It breeds in large companies, in marshy localities inland, con¬structing a rather loosely formed nest of flag-leaves, grass, straws, &c., which is placed on almost floating islands, and late in May or early in June lays 3 to 4 eggs, which are not unlike some varieties of the Arctic Tern, greenish olive in ground-colour with blackish grey shell-markings and dark brown surface spots and blotches, in size measuring about 1.66 by 1.19.
I have not described the young of these Black-headed Gulls, as they all resemble the adult bird in winter dress, but have the upper parts brown or marked with brown. The sexes are alike.
1139. Larus minutus
1139. LITTLE GULL.