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Common Gull

Common Gull
Both sexes: Grey upperparts, white head and underparts, and black wing-tips. Yellow-green legs.

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.

Adult Winter
Adult Winter
In Flight
In Flight

Scientific Name Larus canus
Length 38-44 cm  (15-18")
Wing Span 106-125 cm  (42-50")
Weight 300-500 g  (11-18 oz)
Breeding Pairs 70000
Present All Year
Status Amber

Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.


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


© Jean Roché,


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.


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


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


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.