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Gulls

Adult Mediterranean gulls in winter plumage

Image: Graham Catley

Small to large seabirds, many of which also live inland for at least part of the year; some are strictly marine. Most are grey, black and white when fully mature, but extensively marked with various shades of brown during from one to four years of immaturity.

They have long, slim wings and can fly exceptionally well, but also strong legs, which give them reasonably good mobility on the ground. They swim buoyantly and often resort to water to roost at night. There are many other gulls around the world that do not visit the UK.

Black-headed gull

Not really a black-headed bird, more chocolate-brown - in fact, for much of the year, it has a white head. It is most definitely not a 'seagull' and is found commonly almost anywhere inland. Black-hea... More...

Black-headed gull

Common gull

It looks like a small, gentler version of the herring gull, with greenish legs and a yellow bill. Despite its name, it is not at all common in some inland areas, though often abundant on the coast an... More...

Common gull

Glaucous gull

A large pale gull with white wing tips. Younger birds are creamy white or more biscuit coloured, depending on age. All have pale wingtips. It is bigger than a herring gull and bulkier, with a fiercer ... More...

Glaucous gull

Great black-backed gull

A very large, thick-set black-backed gull, with a powerful beak. Adults are blacker than the smaller lesser black-backed gull. It has a heavy flight and can look quite hunched when perched. It will f... More...

Great black-backed gull

Herring gull

Herring gulls are large, noisy gulls found throughout the year around our coasts and inland around rubbish tips, fields, large reservoirs and lakes, especially during winter. Adults have light grey ba... More...

Herring gull

Iceland gull

A medium-size gull, smaller than most herring gulls. It has a rounded head and smallish beak, giving it a dove-like expression. It has very pale plumage and white wing tips, and, like the glaucous gul... More...

Iceland gull

Kittiwake

A gentle looking, medium-sized gull with a small yellow bill and a dark eye. It has a grey back and is white underneath. Its legs are short and black. In flight the black wing-tips show no white, unli... More...

Kittiwake

Lesser black-backed gull

Slightly smaller than a herring gull, the lesser black-backed gull has a dark grey to black back and wings, yellow bill and yellow legs. Their world population is found entirely in Europe. After decli... More...

Lesser black-backed gull

Little gull

A small, dainty gull. Adults in summer have black heads, while young birds have a black mark on each wing which forms a 'W' pattern. In flight adults show a pale grey upperwing, with no black wingti... More...

Little gull

Mediterranean gull

Slightly larger than a black-headed gull, with an all-black head in the breeding season. Adults have white wing-tips and underwings, younger birds have more wing markings. It has a large, slightly dro... More...

Mediterranean gull

Yellow-legged gull

The yellow-legged gull has only recently been recognised as a species in its own right, having previously been considered to be a race of herring gull. Adults have darker grey backs and wings than h... More...

Yellow-legged gull