The male is 60-67 cm (24-26 in) long and weighs 1,050-1,525 g. The female is 55-62 cm (22-24 in) and weighs 710-1,100 g. The wingspan is 125 to 155 cm (49 to 61 in). Adults in breeding plumage have a grey back and upperwings and white head and underparts. The wingtips are black with white spots known as `mirrors`. The bill is yellow with a red spot and there is a ring of bare yellow skin around the pale eye. The legs are normally pink at all ages but can be yellowish, particularly in the Baltic population which was formerly regarded as a separate subspecies `L. a. omissus`. Non-breeding adults have brown streaks on the head and neck. Male and female plumage is identical at all stages of development, however adult males are often larger.

Habitat and Distribution

It breeds across Northern Europe, Western Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic states. Some Herring Gulls, especially those resident in colder areas, migrate further south in winter, but many are permanent residents, e.g. in the British Isles, Iceland, or on the North Sea shores. These birds are abundant around inland rubbish dumps, and some have even adapted to life in inland cities.


These are omnivores and opportunists and will scavenge from garbage dumps. They can steal the eggs and young of other birds. They plunge dive for aquatic prey and also eat vegetable matter(roots, seeds tubers, etc).


Two to four eggs, usually three, are laid on the ground or cliff ledges in colonies, and are defended vigorously by this large gull. The eggs are a dark blotched, olive color. They are incubated for 28-30 days. Breeding colonies are predated by great black-backed gulls, harriers, corvids, herons and raccoons.

Calls and Songs

The loud laughing call is well known in the northern hemisphere. The Herring Gull also has a yelping alarm call and a low barking anxiety call.