Red-Billed Gull; Tarapunga (Larus scopulinus)

Endemic.

 

The red-billed gull may be seen on the estuary (both on the mudflats and on the water), on the beach, and in Foxton Beach itself. It will come to picnickers who are throwing food for the birds. Sometimes you'll see several floating on the estuary waters and having a bathe.

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Much smaller than the black-backed gull, the red-billed gull is predominantly white, except for its wings, which are grey with black tips. The beak and legs are a vivid red. The eye, which has a white iris, has a red rim. Juvenile red-billed gulls have dark brown legs and bill, with some brownish spots on the wings, and may be mistaken at a casual glance for a black-billed gull.

 

This gull is a scavenger and may be seen at landfills and sewage outlets; it also steals food from other birds. It's often seen in flocks.