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Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Larus fuscus ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Common across Europe, the Lesser Black-backed Gull is an uncommon, but regular visitor to eastern North America. Its occurrence on this continent increased dramatically over the last third of the 20th century.

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Appearance

Gulls
Gulls
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium to large gull.
  • Head and underparts white.
  • Back dark gray.
  • Wingtips black with some white spots.
  • Bill yellow with red spot near tip of lower mandible.
  • Legs yellow.

Immature Description

Juvenal Plumage: Dark dusky brown, with pale face and dark ear patch. Back dark with whitish tips to feathers. Wings neatly barred with dark and light. Rump pale. Broad dark band on tip of tail. Two dark bars across back of spread wing. Outer wing dark, with only slightly paler patch at base of "hand" (primaries). Bill black. Legs dull flesh.
First Winter (Basic I) Plumage: Like juvenile, but less distinct ear patch and back scaling.
Second Winter (Basic II): White face, chest, belly, and rump. Head with dusky streaks. Some dark gray feathers on back. Wingtips black. Tail whiter, with narrower black band. Legs may be tinged with yellow.
Third Winter (Basic III): Like adult, but with some streaks on lower body, brown speckles on inner wing, blacker wingtips, and a faint tail band.

Range Map Help

Lesser Black-backed Gull Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Breeding Adult

    Lesser Black-backed Gull

    Breeding Adult
    • © Jacob Cuomo, Cape May Point SP, New Jersey, September 2013
  • Nonbreeding Adult

    Lesser Black-backed Gull

    Nonbreeding Adult
    • © Gary Tyson, Cape Henlopen, Delaware, September 2013
  • Nonbreeding Adult

    Lesser Black-backed Gull

    Nonbreeding Adult
    • © Gary Tyson, Cape Henlopen, Delaware, September 2013

Similar Species

  • Great Black-backed Gull is larger and more robust, with a stouter bill, pink legs, a darker back with the wingtips not contrasting markedly with the rest of the back, large white spots at the tip of the wings, and little to no head streaking in winter.