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Herring Gull

From Opus

(Redirected from European Herring Gull)
European Herring GullPhoto by Robert Scanlon
European Herring Gull
Photo by Robert Scanlon
Larus argentatus

Includes: Vega Gull and American Herring Gull


[edit] Identification

Vega GullPhoto by Alex Kuzmich Anadyr, Siberia, Russia
Vega Gull
Photo by Alex Kuzmich
Anadyr, Siberia, Russia

55-66cm. Breeding Adult

  • Grey back and upperwings
  • White head
  • White below
  • Black wing tips with white spots
  • Bare yellow eye ring
  • Yellow bill with red spot
  • Pink legs

Non Breeding Adult

  • Brown streaks on head and neck


  • Brown with dark streaks
  • Dark bill
  • Dark iris

Second-winter bird

  • Whiter head and underparts
  • Grey back

[edit] Distribution

American Herring GullPhoto by jvhigbee
American Herring Gull
Photo by jvhigbee

[edit] European Herring Gull

Breeds widely across Northern Europe from Iceland and the Faroes to northern Scandinavia and Arctic Russia, reaching south to the British Isles and France east to Germany, Poland, Belarus and the Baltic States. Has recently been recorded breeding in a Yellow-legged Gull colony in northern Spain.
Mainly resident or dispersive, except in north Norway, the Baltic, Finland and northern Russia where migratory.
Widespread in winter in Western and Central Europe.
Has bred on Svalbard and Bear Island.

[edit] Vega Gull

Breeds north-eastern Siberia; winters south to China

[edit] American Herring Gull

Breeds from Alaska east across northern Canada to Maritime Provinces, south to British Columbia, north-central Canada, and Great Lakes, and along Atlantic Coast to North Carolina. 1

[edit] Taxonomy

Occasionally hybridises with other species, eg Lesser Black-back, and particularly Glaucous Gull in Iceland.

This species also formerly included Yellow-legged Gull, Caspian Gull and Armenian Gull which are now considered full species by most authorities.

[edit] Subspecies

Juvenile American Herring GullPhoto by bobsofpaSebastian Inlet State Park, Florida, USA, February 2005
Juvenile American Herring Gull
Photo by bobsofpa
Sebastian Inlet State Park, Florida, USA, February 2005

Clements[1] and Dickinson actually accept four subspecies in three groups:

  • European Herring Gull:
    • L. a. argentatus in Scandinavia and extreme northwest Russia, winters in northern and western Europe
    • L. a. argenteus in northwest Europe, winters to northern Spain
  • Vega Gull or East Siberian Gull
  • American Herring Gull
    • L. a. smithsonianus in northern North America, winters south to Central America

All three groups are accepted as full species by Gill and Donsker.

[edit] Habitat

Breeds mainly along rocky coastlines on cliffs, stacks and islands, in some areas on buildings or on flatter areas of shore and in others at inland lakes. Mainly coastal when not breeding but increasingly in urban areas and on farmland. Abundant at refuse-tips and around fishing harbours.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

They are scavengers; they will also take eggs and young birds.

[edit] Breeding

They are colony nesters. 2-4 olive eggs are laid on the ground or cliff ledges and are incubated for 28-30 days.

[edit] Vocalisation

Listen in an external program

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Whatbird
  4. enature

[edit] External Links


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