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Tarāpuka/Black-billed Gull Larus bulleri

Endemic. At risk-declining.


Superficially very similar to the Red-billed Gull in size, shape, and colouring, this sleek gull is built on more slender lines. It has a white body, its wings are grey with black at the very tips (it has less black than the Red-billed Gull). The bill and legs are black (there may be some orange or red showing on the legs). As a juvenile the legs and beak are pale pink, shading to bright red in the second year and then becoming black after that. Immature birds also have brownish spots on the wings; they can be mistaken for adult red-billed gulls.


Black-billed Gulls mainly breed on the braided river systems in the South Island but winter on the coasts of both the North and South Islands. Up to five eggs can be laid but usually only 2-3 which take 20-24 days to hatch. Chicks will wander away from the nest quite early on but it can be six or seven weeks before chicks are able to feed themselves.

Unlike the two other species of gull, they are not often found in cites and towns, preferring coastal areas once breeding season is over.


nzbirdsonline-black-billed gull

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