Lesser Black-backed Gull

Larus fuscus

  1. Wildlife
  2. Birds
  3. Gulls and seabirds
  4. Lesser Black-backed Gull


The lesser black-backed gull can be found on farmland, wetlands and around the coast. It is a large, elegant gull just a little smaller than herring gull. The world's population of this gull can be found entirely in Europe; in the UK, a third of the population can be found on Walney Island, Cumbria. Like many gulls, it is an omnivore and can be spotted scavenging around rubbish tips and in urban areas.

How to identify

Gulls can be very difficult to tell apart, especially immature birds. Adult lesser black-backed gulls are dark grey above and white below, with a white head (streaky during the winter) and black wingtips with white spots. They have yellowy-orange legs.

Where to find it

Widespread. Nests around the coast on cliff tops, rooftops and islands.


When to find it

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

How can people help

During the 19th century the lesser black-backed gull was persecuted and populations declined. Since then they have been expanding their range but are still threatened. The UK holds 40% of the European population of these gulls, more than half of which can be found on fewer than ten sites across the country. For this reason, the lesser black-backed gull is an Amber List bird. To ensure the survival of our seabirds, The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas' where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Latin name
Larus fuscus
Gulls and seabirds
Length: 52-67cm Wingspan: 1.4m Weight: 830g Average Lifespan: 15 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.