Barn Owl
Blackbird
Blackcap
Black-headed Gull
Black Redstart
Blue Tit
Brambling
Bullfinch
Buzzard
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Chiffchaff
Coal Tit
Collared Dove
Common Gull
Coot
Crested Tit
Crossbill
Cuckoo
Dunnock
Feral Pigeon
Fieldfare
Garden Warbler
Goldcrest
Goldfinch
Goshawk
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Greenfinch
Green Woodpecker
Grey Heron
Grey Partridge
Grey Wagtail
Hawfinch
Herring Gull
Hoopoe
House Martin
House Sparrow
Jackdaw
Jay
Kestrel
Kingfisher
Lapwing
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Whitethroat
Linnet
Little Owl
Long-eared Owl
Long-tailed Tit
Magpie
Mallard
Marsh Tit
Meadow Pipit
Mistle Thrush
Moorhen
Nightingale
Nuthatch
Peregrine
Pheasant
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Wagtail
Quail
Raven
Red Kite
Red-legged Partridge
Redpoll
Redstart
Redwing
Reed Bunting
Ring-necked Parakeet
Robin
Rook
Sand Martin
Serin
Short-eared Owl
Siskin
Skylark
Song Thrush
Sparrowhawk
Spotted Flycatcher
Starling
Stock Dove
Stonechat
Swallow
Swift
Tawny Owl
Treecreeper
Tree Sparrow
Turtle Dove
Waxwing
Whinchat
Whitethroat
Willow Tit
Willow Warbler
Wood Pigeon
Wren
Yellow Wagtail
Yellowhammer

British Garden Birds Logo Home page. Bird identification guide. Site map. Discussion board. Articles on birds and birdwatching. Having problems? Search this website. Photograph album. Guestbook for your comments. News about the birds in my garden. Contact us. Test your identification skills. About this website. Field trip reports. Links to other websites. Awards won by this website. British Garden Birds Navigation Map

Herring Gull

Herring Gull Herring Gull Both Sexes
Grey upperparts, white head and underparts, and black wing tips. Pink legs. Yellow bill with red spot near tip.
Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.
Larus argentatus
Length: 55-67 cm  (22-27")
Wing Span: 130-158 cm  (52-63")
Weight: 750-1250 g  (1½-2¾ lb)
Breeding Pairs: 200 000
Present: All Year
Status: Red

Description

The Herring Gull is larger than the Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, and Lesser Black-backed Gull, but smaller than the Great Black-backed Gull.

In the summer, the adult birds have a pale grey back and wings, which have black wing tips and white spots. The head, neck and breast are white. The legs are pink and the bill is yellow with a red spot near the tip. The eye is yellow with an orange orbital ring.

In the winter, the bill is duller, and the head and neck are streaked with grey.

The plumage varies greatly according to the bird's age and the season. Juveniles are mottled brown with a dark bar at the tip of the tail. Immature birds become progressively greyer above and white below until they reach adult plumage in their 3rd winter.

Voice

Choose from Quicktime and mp3. Call
  Quicktime mp3

The yelping "kyow" and laughing calls, like "gah-gah-gah", of the Herring Gull are very familiar ones at the seaside.

Feeding

Herring Gulls are opportunists and will eat most things: fish, crabs, insects, eggs, young birds, small mammals and garbage.

Nesting

They usually nest in colonies on ledges of sea cliffs or in dunes, but also on building roofs.

The nest is built by both birds from grasses and seaweed.

The smooth, non-glossy pale green eggs have brown blotches on them, and are about 52 mm by 37 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)
April 1 2-3 25-33 c.42

Movements

British birds are resident and mostly sedentary so that after nesting the adults and juveniles disperse only short distances to favoured feeding grounds, often farmland away from the coasts. Some do migrate to southern Europe and the Mediterranean for the winter, where they are joined by other Continental birds that have migrated southwards. Similarly, the British population may increase three- or fourfold when Icelandic and Scandinavian birds  stay for the winter.

Conservation

Unbelievably, this once common gull of the seaside is now a red list species of conservation concern owing to its population declining by more half in the last 25 years.

My Garden

Herring Gulls are often seen flying over the garden, especially in the winter months, but none have ever been seen in the gardens or on the roofs.


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2017.
Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites