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Brown-hooded Gull

From Opus

Adult in breeding plumagePhoto © by Luis R. FigueroaQuemchi, ChiloĆ© Island, Chile, 8 December 2018
Adult in breeding plumage
Photo © by Luis R. Figueroa
Quemchi, ChiloƩ Island, Chile, 8 December 2018
Chroicocephalus maculipennis

Larus maculipennis


[edit] Identification

Non-breeding adultPhoto © by Rodrigo ReyesViƱa del Mar, Chile, 27 May 2005
Non-breeding adult
Photo © by Rodrigo Reyes
ViƱa del Mar, Chile, 27 May 2005

35ā€“37 cm (13Ā¾-14Ā½ in)
Breeding adult

  • Grey upperparts
  • White underparts
  • Brown hood
  • White eye crescents
  • White nape, neck and breast
  • Grey-white wings
  • Deep red bill and legs

Non-breeding adult

  • White head
  • Dark spots behind the eye


  • Mottled brown head, back and wings.
  • Wings with narrow black trailing edge
  • Tail with narrow, black subterminal bar
  • Bill pinkish with black tip
  • Pinkish-brown legs and feet
Adult in flightPhoto © by Alejandro TabiniBuenos Aires, Argentina, 1 October 2005
Adult in flight
Photo © by Alejandro Tabini
Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1 October 2005

[edit] Similar Species

They bear a strong resemblance to the Black-headed Gull but Brown-hooded Gull has a slightly darker mantle, narrower dark subterminal band on its primaries, more dark at the bases of its outermost primaries, and usually distinct white primary tips cf. Black-headed.

[edit] Distribution

Southern South America : found in Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands.

[edit] Taxonomy

Sometimes treated as a subspecies of the similar Black-headed Gull and sometimes placed in the genus Larus.

[edit] Subspecies

Usually treated as monotypic[1] but some authors classify birds from northern Argentina to southern Brazil as the nominate race while C. m. glaucodes with more white in its wing-tips is found throughout the rest of the bird's range[6].

Juvenile Photo © by Joseph MorlanChiloĆ© Island, Chile, 1 February 2015
Photo © by Joseph Morlan
ChiloƩ Island, Chile, 1 February 2015

[edit] Habitat

Sea coasts, rivers, lakes and marshes; in winter also frequents sewage outfalls and slaughterhouses.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Actions

Catches prey directly from the water's surface, often around kelp beds. Also forages along the shore, as well as at sea, lakes, ponds and marshes.

[edit] Breeding

Sometimes solitary but they usually nest in colonies of 10-50 pairs, occasionally up to 500 nests. Colony locations often change from year to year according to food resources and nest site availability. The nest may be a floating platform of aquatic vegetation, a bulky grass structure on dry ground, or in a hollow lined with vegetation. Nests are often located in aquatic vegetation around edges of lakes, ponds or marshes, or sometimes on shingle beaches or rocky headlands, or in remote coastal plains. The clutch consists of 2 to 4 olive-brown eggs with rufous and greyish markings.

[edit] Diet

Includes small fish and marine invertebrates such as mollusks and crustaceans, earthworms and insects. They also eat carrion and offal when available. In cultivated areas they may follow the plow where they feed on numerous invertebrates, including Lepidoptera and parasitic insects. Like most gulls, they also may steal food from other bird species.

[edit] Movements

Relatively sedentary, dispersing to large rivers and coastal areas after breeding when some move north to Northern Chile and Eastern Brazil

[edit] Vocalisations

Calls include harsh croaking and screaming notes sometimes accompanying ritual displays.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Avibase
  3. Arthur Grosset
  4. Birds of the Falkland Islands
  5. Jaramillo, A. 2003. Birds of Chile. Princeton & Oxford: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691117409
  6. Howell, S.N.G. & Dunn, J.L. (2007) Gulls of the Americas. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
  7. Burger, J., Gochfeld, M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Brown-hooded Gull (Larus maculipennis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 January 2019).
  8. Brown-hooded Gull (Chroicocephalus maculipennis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

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