Sunday, 23 August 2009

Great Black-Backed Gull (Larus marinus)

Adult Great black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) at Padstow, Cornwall - May 2012

OTHER NAMES: Greater Black Backed Gull
Weight: 1.5-1.8kg
Length: 64-79cm
Wingspan: 150-170cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

A huge gull - the largest of all gulls globally, and coupled with the distinctive ashy-grey back should be readily identifiable in most situations. While common, it is found in much lower densities than most gulls, and in my experience seems more likely to be solitary or in small numbers when seen. It is also more overtly predatory than many species and I've seen it on various occassions attacking other species. I haven't noticed any particularly compelling pattern to finding them - they are present on the coast year round but otherwise have turned up on inland bodies of water and fields. They are probably a species that you should come across fairly easily even if you cannot specifically plan it.

Related Species:
Family: Laridae
Genus: Larus
Subspecies: none - monotypic

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Common breeding resident (17,000 pairs) and common Winter visitor (77,000 birds)
 - Birds seen commonly at sites including but not limited to Rutland WaterTrevose HeadRainham Marshes, Ditchford Gravel Pits and Eyebrook Reservoir. Farne Islands and Geddington.

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