Common Gull

Larus canus


The Common Gull can be found on farmland, wetland and coastal habitats throughout Britain. A medium-sized gull, it is similar in appearance to the larger, Herring Gull, but lacks the famous red spot on its bill. It breeds in coastal marshes, on dunes, rocky ledges and shingle beaches, and even on buildings. It can be spotted at landfill sites eating rubbish, but is not as common inland as its name suggests.

How to identify

The Common Gull is silvery-grey above and white below, with a white head (streaky during the winter) and black wingtips. It is smaller than similar Herring Gull, and has greenish-yellow legs and a yellow bill.

Where to find it

Nests on marshland and around lakes in the north of England and Scotland. Non-breeding birds are widespread.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

The non-breeding population of Common Gulls is important in the UK. To ensure that we keep populations of Common Gulls and other seabirds healthy, it is important that our marine environment is managed properly. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Common Gull
Latin name
Larus canus
Gulls and seabirds
Length: 38-44cm Wingspan: 1.2m Weight: 400g Average Lifespan: 10 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.