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Lesser Black-backed Gull Life History


Habitat ShorelinesBreeds on tundra, along coasts, and on islands in lakes and larger rivers. Winters along coastal regions, bays, estuaries, along lakes and rivers, and at garbage dumps.Back to top


Food OmnivoreFish, marine invertebrates, insects, birds, eggs, carrion, garbage.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Depression in fairly substantial mound of seaweed, grasses, other vegetation, and general debris, lined with finer material; less often shallow scrape with sparse lining. Placed on ground. Nests in colonies.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:1-4 eggs
Egg Description:Olive with markings variable or lacking.
Condition at Hatching:Chicks semiprecocial at hatching; may leave nest cup in several days. Covered in cryptically colored down.
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Behavior Ground ForagerCaptures prey while walking or swimming, dips food from surface of water. Steals food from other birds.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernThere is little information on Lesser Black-backed Gull population numbers and trends. The species rates a 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds Watch List. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan lists it as a Species of Moderate Concern. Lesser Black-backed Gull appear to be expanding both their wintering and breeding ranges.Back to top


Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2020. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2020.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

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