Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Scientific name: Larus argentatus

Did you know: Herring Gulls can live up to 49 years, making them one of the most long-lived birds along the UK coastline!

What Do Herring Gulls Look Like? (how to identify them)

Herring Gulls are big and striking birds. Adults are known for their light grey-coloured backs and white underparts, with characteristic black wing tips marked with ‘mirrors’. 

Their legs are pink and they have webbed feet, with strong, slightly curved bills marked with red. Young birds display a mottled brown appearance.

Differences Between Male And Female Herring Gulls

While both male and female Herring Gulls share the same plumage, males are typically larger than females. This size difference is often the key to telling them apart.

What Do Herring Gulls Eat?

These gulls are omnivorous and versatile in their diet. They feed on offal, seeds, carrion, fruits, young birds, eggs, insects, small mammals, and fish. Notably, they are also opportunistic scavengers, often seen around rubbish tips and human settlements.

Where Do Herring Gulls Live? (inc. migration info)

Herring Gulls are found throughout the year around UK coasts and inland near large water bodies, fields, and refuse sites. While some migrate south in the winter, many are regular residents, especially in milder regions like Ireland, Britain, and the shores of the North Sea.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Herring Gulls)

The Herring Gull’s call is a familiar sound along the coastline. Their loud, laughing call is often associated with the seaside, and they also have a yelping alarm call and a low, barking anxiety call.

Fun Herring Gull Facts (kid friendly)

  • Herring Gulls can live up to 49 years.
  • They are large gulls with a wingspan of up to 150cm.
  • Juvenile Herring Gulls are mottled brown and take four years to get their adult plumage.
  • These gulls are known to drop shelled prey from a height to break the shell.
  • They can drink seawater, thanks to special glands that remove excess salt.
  • Herring Gulls are known for their loud, laughing call.
  • They are adaptable and can live in urban areas.
  • These gulls can be bold around humans, especially when food is involved.
  • They nest on the ground or cliff ledges in colonies.
  • Herring Gulls use their keen vision and hearing to locate food.

Facts About The Herring Gull

Diet: Ominivorous- carrion, offal, seeds, fruits, young birds, eggs, small mammals, insects and fish.
Bird Family: Gulls and terns
Length: 54-60cm
Wingspan: 130-150cm
Weight: 690-1440g
Scientific Name: Larus argentatus

The Herring Gull Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

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