Fauna and Flora Friday: 4 December 2020

Hartlaub’s gull Chroicocephalus hartlaubii

It is a small gull which is a non-migratory breeding resident endemic to the Atlantic Ocean coastline of South Africa and Namibia. It is also known as King gull. It is predominantly coastal or estuarine and is rarely seen at sea far from land.

Hartlaub’s gull is 36–38 cm in length. It is a mainly white gull with a grey back and upper wings, black wingtips with conspicuous white mirrors, and a dark bill and legs. It has a very faint lavender grey head when breeding but otherwise has a white head. Sexes are similar. 

It breeds in large colonies, and the main traditional breeding colony for the Cape Town area is on Robben Island. The adults fly to the mainland to find food for their chicks, a round trip of about 24 km. The Hartlaub’s gull takes two years to reach maturity. Juvenile birds have a brown band across the wings. They differ from same-age grey-headed gulls in that they lack a black terminal tail band, less dark areas in the wings, darker legs, and a white head.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my post. I hope you also learned something new today.

Have a fabulous day. Till next time, please stay safe and healthy.


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