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Common Gull

Common Gull Common Gull Both Sexes
Grey upperparts, white head and underparts, and black wing-tips. Yellow-green legs.
Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.
Larus canus
Length: 38-44 cm  (15-18")
Wing Span: 106-125 cm  (42-50")
Weight: 300-500 g  (11-18 oz)  
Breeding Pairs: 70 000
Present: All Year
Status: Amber

Description

The Common Gull is larger than the Black-headed Gull, but smaller than the Herring Gull.

As with most gulls, the plumage of the Common Gull varies greatly and depends on age and the time of year.

In the summer, the adult birds have blue-grey wings, back and mantle, and white head, neck and breast. The wings have black tips with white spots. The legs and bill are yellow-green.

In the winter, the bill is duller with a thick black band towards the tip and the head is streaked grey.

The plumages of juveniles and immature birds are complex, but basically mottled brown.

Voice

Choose from Quicktime and mp3. Call
  Quicktime mp3

Their calls are high pitched, some are laughing calls and others are mewing calls: "keow".

Feeding

As well as scavenging on carrion, Common Gulls feed on worms, insects, molluscs and fish.

In the winter, they can often be found scavenging at landfill sites with other species of gulls.

Nesting

The nest is made from seaweed and other plant material. Both birds build the nest, which is usually on the ground and in a colony.

The greenish eggs have brown blotches on them and are smooth and non-glossy. They are about 58 mm by 41 mm in size. Both birds share the duty of incubating the eggs and feeding the precocial nestlings.

Breeding Data
Breeding Starts Number of Clutches Number of Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
mid-May 1 3 22-27 28-35

Movements

The resident birds are joined by Scandinavian visitors in the winter, and the population increases to about 700 000 birds.

Conservation

Recently, there has been a decline in their numbers, which may be caused by one or more of the following: changes in farming practices, planting of commercial forests, land drainage and predation by mink.

My Garden

None have been observed in the neighbourhood, though they have flown over with other species of gull during the wintertime.


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2017.
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