Adult Common Gulls are 40-46 cm long, noticeably smaller than the Herring Gull, and slightly smaller than the Ring-billed Gull, also differing from the latter in its shorter, more tapered bill with a more greenish shade of yellow, as well as being unmarked during the breeding season. The body is grey above and white below. The legs are greenish-yellow. In winter, the head is streaked grey, and the bill often has a poorly defined blackish band near the tip (sometimes sufficiently obvious to cause confusion with Ring-billed Gull). They have black wingtips with large white `mirrors`. Young birds have scaly black-brown upperparts and a neat wing pattern, and grey legs. They take two to three years to reach maturity.

Habitat and Distribution

The common gull breeds in northern Asia, northern Europe and northwestern North America. It migrates further south in winter.


Like most gulls, they are omnivores and will scavenge as well as hunt small prey.


Both Common and Mew Gulls breed colonially near water or in marshes, making a lined nest on the ground or in a small tree; colony size varies from 2 to 320 or even more pairs. Usually three eggs are laid (sometimes just one or two); they hatch after 24-26 days, with the chicks fledging after a further 30-35 days.

Calls and Songs

The call is a high-pitched `laughing` cry.