The Mediterranean Gull is slightly larger and bulkier than the Black-headed Gull with a heavier bill and longer, darker legs. The breeding plumage adult is a distinctive white gull, with a very pale grey mantle and wings with white primary feathers, with a black hood contrasting with distinct white eye crescents. The blunt tipped, parallel sided, dark red bill has a black subterminal band. The non breeding adult is similar but the hood is reduced to an extensive dusky `bandit` mask through the eye. First year birds have a black terminal tail band and more black areas in the upperwings, but have pale underwings.
Habitat and Distribution
From the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean this species has now expanded over most of Europe as far as the Great Britain and Ireland. In Ireland breeding has been recorded in at least four counties. Breeding has also occurred in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary and the Balkans. In winter, this bird migrates to Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. They breed in large reedbeds or marshes, or on islands in lakes.
The Mediterranean Gull's feeding habits are much an opportunistic omnivore, eating fish, worms, scraps, insects, offal and carrion.