The images and video below show a group of gulls feeding on crowberries Empetrum nigrum, observed on Sunday 29 June 2014 on the island of Texel, the Netherlands.
Although I had seen this behaviour once before, I had never seen so many gulls feeding at once and not from such close range.
The group consisted mainly of Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus graellsii (Dutch intergrade), one or two European Herring Gulls Larus argentatus argenteus and one Common Gull Larus Canus. All gulls were adults.
It was particularly interesting to see that the arriving Lesser Black-backed Gulls started to feed as soon as they alighted, even before they folded their wings.
Earlier that day while helping out researchers with their nest inspection in one of the local gull colonies, we had already found remnants of crowberries around some of the nests, proof that it is used as a food source for the young gulls. It was nice to see where they got them from.
It is not uncommon for gulls to choose this type of food: similar behaviour is also observed in the Mediterranean countries where large gulls feed on olives from olive trees.
A HISTORICAL ECOLOGY OF TWO CLOSELY RELATED GULL SPECIES – Dr. Kees Camphuysen