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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Lesser Black-backed Gull



Awaiting image for this species!



Lesser Black-backed Gull

(Baltic Gull, Less Black-Backed Gull, Lesser Blackbacked Gull)

Larus fuscus graellsii

Gaelic: Farspach bheag


  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Larus fuscus
  • Gaelic: Farspach bheag
  • UK: Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage Visitor.
  • UK: AMBER LIST. 110,000 pairs (summer) BTO . Winter 60,830+ birds RSPB
  • WI: Fairly common migrant breeder (1000 -10,000 pairs), and passage visitor (occurs in small numbers) Not present in winter
  • Breeds: Colonies. Lined nest on ground or cliff. 1 brood a yr. Lays 3 eggs. Atlantic coasts, lakes. British Isles, Iceland, northern France. UK breeding sites are left July - Aug & birds begin to return December
  • Winters: South of breeding range to South Africa, Persian Gulf. The Scandinavian birds (Jet back backs) start arriving to winter in October (not to WI)
  • Habitat: Seacoasts, lakes, rivers, moor, rubbish tips, reservoirs, fields
  • Diet: Omnivorous, feeds at rubbish dumps, fish
  • Approx size of Herring Gull. Dark grey back & wings. Yellow bill. Yellow legs.
  • Max recorded age 34yrs 4mths. Typical lifespan 15yrs
  • Listen to a Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Similar birds: Great Black-backed Gull (adult is black not dark-grey), Kumlien's Gull, Herring Gull


Lesser Black-backed Gull records in the Western Isles

Fairly common migrant breeder (1000 -10,000 pairs), and passage visitor (occurs in small numbers)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)

Not present in winter

There are three races of the Lesser Black-backed Gull, the majority of the birds we get are the West European race, Larus fuscus graellsii, this species has a dark grey back (not black) and breeds in the British Isles, Iceland, and northern France.
See a photograph of Larus fuscus graellsii (WIKI)


Larus fuscus intermedia, the Scandinavian race which breeds in Denmark, Netherlands, Norway and winters in most of the rest of the UK has a sooty black and probably occurs as a scarce (very small numbers recorded in most years) passage visitor.
See a photograph of Larus fuscus fuscus (WIKI)

On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Lesser Black-backed Gull is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.


























(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)


Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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