Aptly named for being the smallest gull in the world, the little gull (Larus minutus) is also distinguished by its broad, rounded wings, entirely black head, and dark underwings (2) (3) (4). The neck, tail and underparts are white, often with a pinkish tinge on the breast, and the back and upperwings are grey, with a white trailing edge to the wings. The legs and feet are bright red, and the short bill is dark reddish-black. Outside of the breeding season, the little gull loses the dark hood over the head, which becomes white apart from a dark cap and dark spot behind the eye (2) (3) (4).
Juvenile little gulls are distinctive, having a blackish cap, black over the ears, a black band on the tail, pale underwings and dark upperparts, with a bold, black zig-zag pattern on the back and wings (2) (3) (4). As the young little gull matures, it develops a greyer back and variable dark markings on the head (2) (3) (4), achieving full adult plumage in its third year (3). The flight of the little gull is described as agile and buoyant (3) (4), and its calls include a short, repeated kek (4) (5).
- Mouette pygmée.
- Length: 25 - 30 cm (2)
- Wingspan: 70 - 78 cm (2)
- 88 - 162 g (2)