Gulls & Terns (Laridae)
Gulls and Terns are long-winged, mostly grey or white seabirds with webbed feet. They are good fliers and many species, particularly the terns, search for food from the air. Others are swimmers and effective plunge-divers. All members of the family are gregarious throughout the year.
Gulls are mostly larger with long, round-tipped wings which are held bowed in flight. Most are coastal rather than pelagic, and have a semi-scavenging lifestyle. This has allowed them to take advantage of human activities, for instance feeding on rubbish tips and roosting on reservoirs. They are slow to mature, passing through several immature brown plumages before reaching adulthood.
Terns are generally smaller and lighter in build than gulls. They typically frequent coastlines where they dive into the sea for food. All terns have long pointed wings, pointed bills, short legs and black caps that are partially lost in winter.
There are 90 species worldwide. Twenty-five breed in Europe and a further five are visitors.
Species seen but not photographed:
  • Audouin's Gull: Fuerteventura (March 2018)
  • Black-billed Gull: New Zealand (November 2001)
  • California Gull: California (October 2002)
  • Caspian Tern: Spain (November 2016)
  • Heermann's Gull: California (October 2002)
  • Red-billed Gull: New Zealand (November 2001)
  • Roseate Tern: Titchwell, Norfolk (August 2005)
  • Slender-billed Gull: Sardinia (May 2007)
  • Southern Black-backed Gull: New Zealand (November 2001)
  • Whiskered Tern: France (May 2013)
  • White-fronted Tern: New Zealand (November 2001)
  • White-winged Tern: France (May 2013)