Lesser Black-Backed Gull

Scientific name: Larus fuscus

Did you know: The United Kingdom is home to a remarkable 40% of the European population of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, making it a crucial habitat for these birds.

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

Lesser Black-Backed Gulls are medium-sized birds, smaller than Herring Gulls but larger than Ring-billed Gulls. They are characterised by their dark grey to black back and wings, contrasting with a white head and underparts. 

Their bill is yellow with a red-coloured spot on the lower mandible, and their legs are a bright yellow, adding to their distinct appearance.

Differences Between Male And Female Lesser Black-Backed Gulls

There are no significant visual differences between male and female Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, making it challenging to distinguish them based on appearance alone.

What Do Lesser Black-Backed Gulls Eat?

Lesser Black-Backed Gulls are omnivorous scavengers, feeding on a wide range of food including small fish, crustaceans, worms, starfish, molluscs, seeds, berries, small mammals, eggs, small birds, scraps, offal, and carrion. They are known for their opportunistic feeding habits.

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

These gulls mostly breed in the coastal areas of northern Europe and Russia, on rocky islands, saltmarshes, cliffs, and islands in rivers and lakes. 

During migration and wintertime, they frequent various aquatic habitats, including lakes, bays, beaches, rivers, landfills, and the open ocean.

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

The calls of the Lesser Black-Backed Gull are typical of large gulls, including a ‘laughing’ cry that is deeper in pitch than that of the Herring Gull.

Fun Lesser Black-Backed Gull Facts (kid friendly)

  • These gulls have a wingspan of up to 150 cm, which is longer than some children are tall!
  • They are not picky eaters and will eat almost anything they can find.
  • Lesser Black-Backed Gulls can live for over 30 years.
  • These birds are known for their loud, laughing calls.
  • They lay eggs that are olive-brown or blue-green with dark brown markings.
  • Juvenile gulls take four years to get their adult plumage.
  • In winter, these gulls’ heads get streaked with brown.
  • They are one of the few bird species where both parents feed their young.
  • Lesser Black-Backed Gulls can be found in cities, often nesting on rooftops.
  • These gulls are known to be quite bold and can sometimes be seen stealing food from other birds.

Lesser 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

Facts About The Lesser Black-Backed Gull

Diet: Omnivore - scavenges a wide range of food.
Bird Family: Gulls and terns
Length: 52-64cm
Wingspan: 135-150cm
Weight: 620-1,000g
Scientific Name: Larus fuscus

The Lesser 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