DHPainter's picture

Large gull with yellow beak

Observed: 3rd February 2013 By: DHPainterDHPainter’s reputation in BirdsDHPainter’s reputation in Birds
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) interacts


DHPainter's picture


Thanks so much - I'm trying to learn my gulls. I went to Hyde Park to see the two female Bearded Tits - amazing. There were about 20 or so Greylag and quite a few Egyptian Geese too. With the above bird, what makes it a Lesser and not a Great or indeed a Herring?

jerebarker's picture

LB vs GB & HG

OK... The relative size and structure of the bird should rule out Great: they are generally substantially bigger than either Herring or Lesser and adults have a more ink-black back, rather than the charcoal-grey your bird shows. Great should also have a heavier-looking bill (try http://www.flickr.com/photos/72243477@N00/8248955743/ for a pair I've photo'd on the Isle of Man). The white tips to the primaries are rather bigger too.

As for Herring, the darkness of the back should rule that species out immediately: Herring should be a pearly pale grey, similar to that of the surrounding Black-headed Gulls, and even on a dull day wouldn't really approach this grey (see e.g. http://www.flickr.com/photos/72243477@N00/8248956703/). If you could see the legs, that would help too - adult Herring and Great Black-back have pink legs, whilst Lesser Black have yellow legs.

They're a fun (ha ha) group though, so stick with it - can be ever so rewarding.


Ray Turner's picture


The legs had me going for a while. Under the belly of the LBBG there is a pair of pink legs just visible – took me a while to realise they belonged to the BHG behind.



DHPainter's picture

Thank you

I really appreciate that so thank you ever so much. I shall now scan all the gulls I see for these features and hopefully make some accurate IDs! I took a far-away photo of this row of birds but the colour of the legs aren't all that clear but do appear a little yellowy.... Cheers guys!