This bird is 51-64 cm (20-25 in) long, 124-150 cm (49-59 in) across the wings and weighs 452-1,100 g with the nominate race averaging slightly smaller than other two subspecies. Males, at average weight of 824 g, are slightly larger than females, at an average of 708 g. A confusable species in Europe is Great Black-backed Gull. The Lesser is a much smaller bird, with slimmer build, yellow rather than pinkish legs, and smaller white `mirrors` at the wing tips. The adults have black or dark grey wings(depending on race) and back. The bill is yellow with a red spot. The head is greyer in winter, unlike Great Black-backed.

Habitat and Distribution

The Lesser black-backed gull breeds on the Atlantic coasts of Europe. It is migratory, wintering from the British Isles south to West Africa. It is a regular winter visitor to the east coast of North America, probably from the breeding population in Iceland. This species breeds colonially on coasts and lakes.


They are omnivores like most Larus gulls, and they will eat fish, insects, crustaceans, worms, starfish, molluscs, seeds, berries, small mammals, eggs, small birds, chicks, scraps, offal, and carrion.


They make a lined nest on the ground or a cliff. Normally, three eggs are laid. In some cities the species nests within the urban environment, often in association with Herring Gulls.

Calls and Songs

The call is a `laughing` cry like that of the Herring Gull (to which this species is closely related), but with a markedly deeper pitch.