Line Line
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus

I am living in the city of Arnhem nowadays. Here only three species of gulls are seen regularly. No wonder, Arnhem is some 100 km from the North Sea. But still the Black-headed Gull is everywhere, sometimes in very great numbers. The Herring Gull is common too, but in much smaller numbers. The Lesser Black-backed Gull is a newcomer. It used to be in coastal areas, but it has discovered roof tops as a good place for building a nest. And this way it is more and more spreading inlands. Yet it is a rather rare gull inlands, compared to the other two species.

The Lesser Black-backed Gull looks like the Herring Gull a lot, but the feathers on top of the body are of a much darker grey than the silvry grey feathers of the Herring Gull are. It also does look a lot like its bigger cousin the Great Black-backed Gull. However the Great has pink legs, the Lesser has yellow legs. Also note the yellow beak, which ends in a red spot. Inlands this is quite enough to tell this species apart from the other two. In coastal areas there are some more look-a-likes, such as the Yellow-legged Gull. Telling apart juveniles is a hobby by itself: gulls may wear juvenile feathers for up to five years, changing them every year, making it very hard to tell them apart. Usually you need experts to name the right species.

Despite of being smaller than its cousin, the Lesser Black-backed Gull is quite an impressive bird. It may be 50 to 64 cm in length, reaching a wingspan of up to 150 cm and weigh 425 to 1,100 grams. This species may live up to some 35 years. The nests are simple, often not more than a few scrapes in sand or grass. Usually three eggs are laid, which take 28 days to hatch. The young are then taken care of for 30 to 40 days. Like so many gulls the Lesser Black-backed Gull will eat almost anything: fish, worms, insects, scraps, waist etc. In some countries numbers are declining, especially on the coast, like in Belgium and the UK. The species is stable in other countries, such as The Netherlands. Declining numbers in coastal areas are somewhat leveled out by increasing numbers inland.

Vogelgeluid Vogelgeluid