2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

Red-billed Gull

Scientific name:

 Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus

Maori Name:




Conservation status

 Threatened, Nationally vulnerable

Mainland status:

 Widespread and locally common


 37cm, 300g (male); 250g (female)


 6 yrs (male), 9 yrs (female) (oldest recorded - 28yrs)


 October - December


 Varied: small fish, crustaceans, molluscs

Red billed gull - photographer: Dr Kerry RodgersThis pearly grey and white gull has boldly patterned black and white wing tips. The short bill is deep bright red, the legs and feet are red and the eye is white. The call is a high pitched, raucous ‘scrark’.

The diet is varied and includes small fish, molluscs, insects, earthworms, eggs, offal, refuse, carrion and marine invertebrates.

Red-billed gulls breed between October and December in large densely packed colonies on sand spits, boulder banks, shellbanks, gravel beaches, rocky headlands and rocky islets. The nest, built mostly by the male with only a small input from the female, is composed of dry grass, seaweed, twigs and feathers. It is a small mound with a depression in the centre. The two or more brownish coloured heavily blotched eggs are incubated by both parents for 24–27 days. The chicks fledge at 37 days but remain dependent on their parents for a further 3 weeks. Immature birds have brown bills, legs and eyes, and brown patches on their backs; adult plumage develops in the second year.

There is a breeding colony of several hundred red-billed gulls on the east side of Tiritiri Matangi.

Learn more about red-billed gulls at New Zealand Birds Online.

Red billed gull - photographer: Max McRae

Photography by: Dr Kerry Rodgers © (right) and Max McRae © (left)

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking. Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.