Saturday, 15 August 2009

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)

OTHER NAMES: Blackback, Caudy Maudy
Latin Etymology: Larus ("gull") fuscus ("dusky")

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull (subspecies L. f. graellsii) in South Bank, London - April 2010

Local Name (Spain): Gavión sombría ("Dark Gull")
Featured Subspecies: Larus fuscus graellsii
Weight: 450-1100g
Length: 50-60cm
Wingspan: 125cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List - Least Concern

The same size as a Herring Gull but easily distinguished by their dark grey back and yellow legs, Lesser Black-backed Gulls are one of the more easily seen birds. They frequently mix in with Herring Gulls, but have seemed less numerous away from water. I've personally found the best views to be along the South Bank of the Thames.  While the British subspecies may not look obviously "black-backed" so much as grey backed, the other subspecies better live up to the name.

Related Species:
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Larus
Subspecies: L. f. fuscus, L. f. intermedius, L. f. graellsii, L. f. heuglini  

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Common breeding species (110,000 birds) and Common Winter visitor (130,000 birds)
 - Seen at sites including Rutland WaterTrevose HeadRainham MarshesPitsford ReservoirDitchford Gravel Pits and Farne Islands. Occassional flyover in Geddington.
SPAIN - Locally common.
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: A fair number around Laguna Navaseca

Further Notes:  ArkiveBirdForum OpusIUCN Red ListWikipediaRSPB, Xeno-cano

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