Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Includes Steppe Gull
A four-year gull. Slenderer and with a smaller head than Herring Gull. Has a slender, parallel-edged bill and small eyes sitting well forward in head. The neck is long, the breast well protruding and the hindparts slender. Often shows a pronounced hanging-belly behind the long, thin legs.
Has a similar wing pattern to Herring Gull: White tip to P10, but white tongues on primaries long and often creating a streaked wing-tip. P5 with extensive black markings. The head is white, sometimes with some faint brown hindneck-streaks in autumn. The eye is often darkish-looking, the bill often greenish-tinged. The legs are grey with fleshy to yellow tinge.
Like adult but with generally fuller black on wing-tip and often dark markings on primary coverts, tail and bill.
Grey upperparts contrast with browner lesser and greater coverts, has a solid dark wing-tip (sometimes with white mirror on P10) and whitish head, underbody and underwing. May show traces of a dark tail-bar.
White on head and body reduced to spots on hindneck, some faint spots on breast-sides, flangs and edges of undertail-coverts. Bill and eye black. Upperwing brown with solid dark bars across bases of secondaries and greater coverts (like Lesser Black-backed Gull. Tertials dark with white tips. Shows a pale wedge on lower back, reaching the white tail-base which contrasts with the solid blackish tail-bar. Underwing often mainly white.
Three subspecies recognized:
This species is sometimes considered conspecific with Yellow-legged Gull.
Breeds on sandy dunes, islands, steppe lakes and along rivers.
They are scavengers and hunt suitable small prey in fields or on the coast, or rob plovers or lapwings of their catches.
ID discussion on how to distinguish Caspian (L. cachinnans) and Yellow-legged Gull (L. michahellis and L. c. atlantis)