Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus
The Lesser Black-backed Gull is slightly smaller than the Herring
Gull, Larus argentatus,
has darker grey upperparts, yellow bill with red spot,
almost no white spots on the wing tips at rest and yellowish legs.
The underwings of the Herring Gull are pure white.
Most birds migrate
during the winter to the western Mediterranean and West Africa but
increasing numbers now winter in Britain.
This picture is also on our page with the Great
Black-backed Gull. Which one is correctly placed?
Adult birds are
most similar to Great Black-backed Gulls but they are smaller,
and less powerful and their dark grey backs are a few shades
paler than the black in their wing-tips.
In Scandinavia, however, the Lesser Black-backs have darker
backs and must therefore be distinguished by their smaller
size, yellow legs and the relatively tiny amount
of white in the tips of the wings.
The immature birds are most likely to be confused with Herring
Gulls especially during
their first winter when neither species has started to acquire
the diagnostic mantle colour.
However, Lesser Black-backs always seem to have darker wings
each feather being mainly dark with pale edges. In flight,
the young Lesser Black-backs
have consistently dark brown wings without a pale area in
the inner primaries.
this frame: http://www.birdguides.com
The Lesser Black-backed Gull is divided into several different subspecies
that differ in the darkness of the back.
Nearly all individuals that reach North America are of the graellsii
subspecies that breeds
in Iceland, Britain, and western Europe.
It is the palest of the forms, with its back being much lighter than
the black wingtips.
At a Lesser
Black-backed Gull breeding colony, immatures, nonbreeding adults,
and failed and off-duty breeders form "clubs" near the
where they spend time "loafing," resting, and preening.
In colonies where other gull species are mixed in, clubs tend to
be composed of one species only.