- 28–31.1 in
- 57.5–63 in
- 45.9–70.5 oz
- Goéland marin (French)
- Gavion (Spanish)
- The Great Black-backed Gull is one of the many species whose feathers were used for fashionable clothing in the 1800s. After the demise of the feather trade in the early 1900s, Great Black-backed Gull populations increased and the species spread farther south. The exploitation of human refuse undoubtedly has contributed to the successful spread of the species.
- Young Great Black-backed Gulls do not fly away from the nest area until they are about 50 days old. They return to the nesting territory to rest and be fed for another 50 days. Some young may remain with their parents for months after leaving the breeding colony, but most join congregations of other immature gulls in places where food is easy to find.
- In winter, large numbers of young Great Black-backed Gulls eat fish driven to the surface by humpback whales.
- Breeds on small islands, salt marshes, spoil islands, and barrier beaches.
- Most common throughout the year along coast.
- Travels far out to sea in winter.
Fish, marine invertebrates, mammals, insects, birds, eggs, carrion, and refuse.
- Clutch Size
- 1–3 eggs
- Egg Description
- Greenish-brown with dark speckles and blotches.
- Condition at Hatching
- Chicks semi-precocial at hatching; may leave nest cup at one day old. Covered in cryptically-colored down.
Scrape in the ground filled with vegetation, feathers, rope, plastic or other items. Nests in colonies, often with other gull species.
Captures food near surface of water or on shore. Steals food from other gulls. Swallows large prey whole. Common at garbage dumps.
Populations are increasing and a southward range expansion has been occurring for nearly 100 years. The Great Black-backed Gull can be a serious predator of other colonial nesting birds, such as terns and puffins.
- Good, T. P. 1998. Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus). In The Birds of North America, No. 330 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.