Lesser Black-backed Gull

Larus fuscus




Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Brown or olive to blue green marked with dark brown

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

24 - 27

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with grass and feathers.





Lesser Black-backed Gull: Medium-sized gull with dark gray back and wings. Head, neck and underparts are white. Bill is yellow with red spot near tip. Wings have dark tips with white spots; legs and feet are yellow. Eyes are yellow with red orbital rings. Sexes are similar. Winter adult is similar but has gray-streaked head and neck. Juvenile is mostly mottled brown and has brown streaked breast, black terminal band on tail, black bill. Plumage gradually lightens, and by 2nd winter back is gray, breast is mostly white, base of bill is pale, and legs are yellow. 3rd winter resembles winter adult but has black spot near tip of bill.

Range and Habitat

Lesser Black-backed Gull: Eurasian species. Breeds in northern Europe; uncommon but increasingly regular visitor to eastern North America; rarer inland and in the west. Preferred habitats include coastal cliffs, moorlands, and dunes. Spends winters on coasts, estuaries, inland lakes, reservoirs, and rubbish tips.

Breeding and Nesting

Lesser Black-backed Gull: Three brown or olive to blue green eggs marked with dark brown are laid in a ground nest lined with dry lichens, vegetation, and feathers. Incubation ranges from 24 to 27 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Lesser Black-backed Gull: Feeds on worms, insects, bird eggs and nestlings, fish, shellfish, small mammals, and carrion; also scavenges at landfills and agricultural lands.


Lesser Black-backed Gull: Makes a loud "kyow" and wide range of other calls, including "yuk-yuk-yuk-yuckle-yuckle" and "hiyak, hiyak, hiyak."

Similar Species

Lesser Black-backed Gull: Herring Gull is larger and paler, has shorter legs, thicker bill, and lacks brown mottling on neck and head. Great Black-backed Gull is larger, with a much darker mantle, and pink legs.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

The upper front part of a bird.
Terminal bandX
Refers to the contrasting stripe at the tip of the tail.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X