Our Beautiful World

Great Black-backed Gull , Svartbak, Larus marinus  

En. Great Black-backed Gull, Da. Svartbag, Du. Grote Mantelmeeuw, Fi. Merilokki, Fr. Goéland marin,
Ge. Mantelmöwe, It. Mugnaiaccio, No. Svartbak, Sp. Gavión, Sw. Havstrut

© www.ecosystema.ru/

© www.ecosystema.ru/

This picture is also on our page with the Lesser 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 and mantle,
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.

text this frame: http://www.birdguides.com

© Arthur Grosset
This photo gives an idea of relative size with a Great Black-backed Gull along with 2 Herring Gull,
a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Great Skua.

© www.ecosystema.ru/

The Great Black-backed Gull is found around the coasts of western and northern Europe,
Iceland and on the east coast of North America as far south as North Carolina.
It usually breeds on the coast or small islands but can be found inland where there is
little human disturbance.

© www.ecosystema.ru/

It can be confused with Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus.
Although it is generally some 25% larger than the Lesser Black-backed this can be difficult to judge. Other features are its generally heavier look, broader, less pointed wings and more massive bill. Clinchers are the pink rather than yellow legs and the greater amount of unbroken white on
the trailing edge of the wing as well as larger white "windows" at the wing-tips.
These translate into large white spots when the bird is at rest.

© Arthur Grosset

They are usually solitary or in small groups. As well as scavenging, they steal food from other
birds and often kill smaller birds such as Manx Shearwater, Puffinus puffinus and
Puffin Fratercula arctica by stabbing them with their massive bills and shaking them.
The bird has been seen feeding off a dead sheep.
Text mainly from
Arthur Grosset


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