Compared with breeding Grey-headed Gull this species is slightly smaller, has a thinner, darker bill, only a slight lavender hood, dark (not silver-yellow) eyes and deeper red legs. In non-breeding plumage it has a plain white head.
Juvenile, compared with juvenile Grey-headed Gull, has darker legs, less black on the tail and only very faint smudges on the head, and lacks the two-tone bill.
Inshore waters, open coast, estuaries, harbours and dumps.
It is an opportunistic scavenger and predator, eating virtually everything.
A drawn-out, rattling 'kaaarrh' and 'pok-pok'.