SLENDER-BILLED GULL This elegant gull is rarely recorded in the British Isles. In fact, the last accepted record was in May 2014 at Titchwell, Norfolk. Many people think of this species as a Mediterranean bird but, in reality, it has a rather disjunct distribution covering coastal West Africa, the Mediterranean and Black Seas eastward into Central Asia and north-western India. Most of the population is migratory, wintering in Africa and India. Slender-billed Gulls share a lot of similarities with the far more familiar Black-headed Gull. They both have white forewings, which is unique among European gulls but is also displayed by the rare transatlantic Bonaparte’s Gull. Indeed, the Slender-billed Gull looks superficially like a large Black-headed Gull in most of its plumages. The striking differences are its sloped forehead and long dark bill plus its habit of leaning its elegant, long neck forward while swimming. This latter feature is so obvious when you watch them that they should really have been christened Swan-necked Gulls! During the summer they sport a clean white head and an utterly delightful pinkish hue on their underparts. When seen in pairs the males are bigger than the females, as famously illustrated when a courting couple turned up at Cley, Norfolk in 1987.