Until the 1950s the world breeding population of Mediterranean Gulls was confined largely to the Black Sea, with small numbers also in Turkey, the Balkans and sporadically in The Netherlands. In the second half of the 20th century they underwent a marked expansion of breeding range, into most countries of western Europe as far north as Denmark by the end of the century. They first bred in Great Britain in 1968 and by 2000 around 100 pairs were nesting in southern England. Outside the breeding season they are found throughout the Mediterranean and Black Seas and along the Atlantic coasts from Denmark to Morocco.

            The first Wiltshire record was of an adult at Hilperton in February 1973. This was followed by singletons in 1982 and 1989, then annually from 1992, mostly with Black-headed Gulls at the Cotswold Water Park and almost all present for just a single day. In most years since 1992 there have been between three and nine records of single birds with occasionally groups of up to four. The only variation from this pattern came in 2013 which saw an extraordinary influx involving at least 30 birds. There have been no records of breeding.


The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:

“1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976: The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser

“1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986: The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser

1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser

Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.

“Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland

WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.

"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.