Belongs to: gulls

Compare with: great black-backed gull

Lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus

BoCC Amber list


Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Large dark-backed gull with yellow legs

Like many gulls mainly scavengers, following fishing boats and searching rubbish tips

Mainly passage migrant and winter visitor, with a few breeding in Essex

Recognition

Dark-backed, yellow bill with red spot, yellow legs; 52 cm; young are mottled, taking 3 years to get adult plumage

Cruise over coast and sea, scavenging for crabs and small fish; also seen inland; take virtually anything edible

Powerful flight, soaring and giding frequently

Lifecycle

Breed in colonies; nest of grass or seaweed in a lined hollow on the ground, on cliff ledges and, in London, on buildings

One brood of 3 olive eggs blotched brown, April to June

  • Main photo

Photo © Gerald Downey