The black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) is the most numerous bird in Helsinki’s sea areas. In recent years, there have been as many as four thousand pairs of black-headed gulls nesting on the islets. Their nesting colonies are centralised and large, each consisting of hundreds of pairs of black-headed gulls. The islet of Tiiraluoto off the coast of Lauttasaari island has been known to house a colony of up to a thousand pairs.
The black-headed gull was the first gull species that learned to steal food from marketplaces and harbours in Helsinki in the early 20th century. Back then, all the black-headed gulls of Helsinki nested together in a single colony, located in the reed beds of Vanhankaupunginlahti. Nowadays black-headed gulls look for food in marketplaces, harbours and fields.
Photo Jussi Helimäki.