The Common Gull or Mew
Gull, Larus canus is a medium-sized gull which breeds in northern
northern Europe and northwestern North America. It migrates
further south in winter.
Adults are 40-46 cm
long, obviously smaller than the Herring Gull, also differing from
this in its shorter,
more tapered bill with a more greenish shade of yellow, as well
as being unmarked during the breeding season.
It has a smaller head than Herring Gull and looks "friendlier".
It is slightly larger than Black-headed Gull, Larus ridibundus.
The body is grey above and white below. The legs are greenish-yellow.
In winter, the head is streaked grey, and the bill often has a poorly-defined
blackish band near the tip.
They have black wingtips with large white "mirrors".
There are four subspecies, two of them considered distinct species
by some authorities:
and western Asia.
Gull , Short-billed Gull
and western Canada.
Both Common and Mew Gulls breed colonially near water or in marshes,
making a lined nest on the ground or in a small tree; colony size
varies from two to 320 or more pairs.
Usually three eggs are laid (sometimes just one or two); they hatch
after 24-26 days,
with the chicks fledging after a further 30-35 days.
Like most gulls, they
are omnivores and will scavenge as well as hunt small prey.
The global population is estimated to be about one million pairs;
they are most numerous in Europe,
with over half (possibly as much as 80-90%) of the world population.
By contrast, the Alaskan population is only about 10,000 pairs.
This photo is probably
a second summer bird showing a yellowish-grey bill with a black
Young birds have scaly black-brown upperparts and a neat wing pattern,
and grey legs.
They take two to three years to reach maturity.