Grey-headed Gull

© Roger de la Harpe
Greyheaded Gull.


Grey-headed gull (Larus cirrocephalus)




42 cm


The breeding adult grey-headed gull have an all-grey hood. The non-breeding gull’s head is white with a grey smudge on the ear coverts. The eyes are pale yellow and the bill and legs a bright red. The immature gull differs from the Hartlaub’s gull in having fleshy-brown legs, a longer flesh-coloured bill with a dark tip and a black tail-tip. They have white heads with dark smudges behind the eyes on the back of the neck.

Grey-headed Gull Call

The call sounds like a hysterical cackling.

Grey-headed Gull Breeding

The grey-headed gull breed from July to November. This species also breeds with Hartlaub’s gull. They are monogamous colonial nesters. Two to three blue-green to rich brown eggs with variable dark brown blotches are laid. The nest is shallow and build with grass, twigs and weeds.


They are found in small or large flocks at large inland waters (where they breed) and at the coast in South Africa.

Grey-headed Gull Status

The grey-headed gull is of least concern and a common to abundant resident.

Where they are found

In South Africa the grey-headed gull is found at large lakes and dams. It is seen fairly regularly but is still considered an uncommon visitor to the south-western Cape from further north.