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Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus

Great Black-backed Gull with Herring Gull for Comparison

Fieldmarks:The largest gull in the world with head-to-tail length of 71-79 cm (28-31 inches). Adults are white except for their jet-black back. The bill is large and the adults have a yellow bill with an orange spot. Legs pink. Birds not in adult plumage can be easily confused with Herring and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls. Adult and first winter birds appear above.

Rare to uncommon vagrant in Bahamas and West Indies region October through March. Uncommon in winter in northern Gulf of Mexico. Also occurs in Bermuda where a few individuals may occur throughout summer.

Natural History:More likely to be seen around marina docks than at sea. Adults breed in both hemispheres of coastal North Atlantic; in western Atlantic nest south to North Carolina. Species is expanding both its breeding and wintering range. Birds require four years to acquire full adult plumage. Like most gulls they are opportunistic foragers.

West Indian Breeding Seabird Atlas by Will Mackin and David Lee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on work at www.wicbirds.net. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.wicbirds.net.

Suggested Citation: Lee, D. S., W. A. Mackin. 2012. Great Black-backed Gull. West Indian Breeding Seabird Atlas <http://www.wicbirds.net/gbbg.html>. Last Updated: _____. Date accessed: ______.

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January 6, 2012
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