Tarāpunga/Red-billed Gull (Larus scopulinus)
The Red-billed Gull may be seen at the Estuary (both on the mudflats and on the water) and in Foxton Beach itself, especially the Surf Club car park where it will come to picnickers who throw food to them. Can sometimes congregate in flocks of up to 50 there.
With an average weight of between 240-320 gm, males are slightly larger than females and have a slightly longer and thicker beak. They are predominantly white, except for its wings, which are grey with black tips. The beak and legs are a vivid red as is the ring around the eye. The iris is white.
This gull is a scavenger and may be seen at landfill sites and other areas where there is likely to be a food source. Its natural diet is krill. small fish, worms and invertebrates.
Nests are a rough gathering of stones, grass and twigs in which is laid 1-3 eggs. These take around 24 days to hatch and chicks rely on their parents for a further 55 days before gaining independence.