Great Black-Backed Gull

Great Black-Backed Gull

Scientific name: Larus marinus

Did you know: The Great Black-Backed Gull is not just the largest gull in the gull family but also a top predator in its habitat, known for its assertive behaviour and formidable size.

What Do Great Black-Backed Gulls Look Like? (how to identify them)

The Great Black-Backed Gull stands out as the largest member of the gull family. 

Adults boast a striking black back and wings, contrasting sharply with their white head, neck, and underparts. This gull’s wingspan stretches an impressive 150 to 170 cm, and it has a robust, powerful build. 

The gull’s hefty beak is yellow with a reddish spot on its lower mandible, while its legs are a soft pink.

Differences Between Male and Female Great Black-Backed Gulls

Males and females are similar in appearance, but males are generally larger. Both genders display the same distinctive black and white plumage and the characteristic yellow beak with a red spot.

What Do Great Black-Backed Gulls Eat?

Great Black-Backed Gulls have an omnivorous diet that includes crustaceans, fish, insects, smaller birds, carrion, and eggs. Opportunistic and versatile, they are also known to scavenge at rubbish tips and sometimes prey on small mammals like rats and rabbits.

Where Do Great Black-Backed Gulls Live? (inc. migration info)

These gulls are typically found in coastal areas, including rocky and sandy shores, as well as inland wetlands. 

They breed in the UK, Ireland, and parts of Europe and North America, with UK breeding pairs estimated at 17,000. In winter, many migrate southward, with some reaching as far as coastal Florida in North America.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Great Black-Backed Gulls)

The call of the Great Black-Backed Gull is a deep, resonant “laughing” cry, distinctively deeper than that of other gull species. During breeding, their calls become more frequent and assertive, reflecting their territorial nature.

Fun Great Black-Backed Gull Facts (kid-friendly)

  • They are the largest gulls in the world!
  • Their wingspan can be as wide as an adult human is tall.
  • They’re known as the kings of their coastal habitats.
  • From fish to chips, they aren’t picky eaters.
  • Their calls are deep and loud, often heard over the sound of the sea.
  • Juvenile gulls have spotty, brown plumage.
  • They can live up to 27 years in the wild.
  • Both parents help in raising the chicks.
  • Their feathers were once used in clothing, impacting their population.

Facts About The Great Black-Backed Gull

Diet: Omnivorous - shellfish, birds and carrion.
Bird Family: Gulls and terns
Length: 64-78cm
Wingspan: 150-165cm
Weight: 1-2kg
Scientific Name: Larus marinus

The Great Black-Backed Gull Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Great Black-Backed Gull Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile