Black-headed gull


For much of the year, black-headed gulls can be found in the city and, therefore, also within Tapijn. In winter, you can recognise them by their ‘headphones’, the markings they have on their heads. In summer, the adult birds have a chocolate brown to black head. But by then most of the black-headed gulls will already have left for their breeding grounds.

The black-headed gulls that winter in Maastricht leave for Eastern Europe in spring. They breed in swamps in Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. We know this, because some black-headed gulls wear a ring around one of their legs. Thanks to these rings, we are know that these urban show-offs lead completely different lives in a completely different environment during breeding season.

Relationship with humans

Why we do what we do

Black-headed gulls prefer to spend the winter in the city, close to people, because that is where the most food can be found. They are real opportunists that are drawn to leftover food thrown away by humans. They can often be found near rubbish bins or wherever ducks are fed. We often see them near the aviary.

Because of their loud screeching, people often find gulls to be annoying, but watching their quarrels about bread crusts or chips can be quite a fascinating spectacle.