Larus Fuscus – Lesser Black-Backed Gull

Larus Fuscus - Lesser Black-Backed Gull found in the US

The lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) is a medium-sized gull that breeds along Europe’s Atlantic coasts. It is a migratory species, wintering between the British Isles and West Africa. It has become increasingly prevalent in North America, most notably along the east coast. Previously a seasonal visitor, many birds are now seen year-round. They arise in high numbers throughout some winters.

Quick Overview: Larus Fuscus – Lesser Black-Backed Gull
Body size: Around 21-22 in (53-56 cm) and a weight of 771 g (27.2 oz)
Main colors: Gray, Black, Yellow, White, Red
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Lesser black-backed Gull Description

A gull of medium size with a dark gray back and wings. White is the color of the head, neck, and underparts. White rump and tail. Yellow bill with a red patch towards the tip. The wings are black with white patches at the tips; the legs and feet are yellow. Yellow eyes with crimson orbital rings.

Larus Fuscus - Lesser Black-Backed Gull found in the US
Larus Fuscus – Lesser Black-Backed Gull eating some seeds. Photo by: Grassrootsgroundswell


These birds have a length of 21-22 in (53-56 cm) and a weight of 771 g (27.2 oz). Their wings could range from 54 in (137 cm).


As with the majority of Larus gulls, they are omnivores, consuming fish, insects, crustaceans, worms, starfish, molluscs, seeds, berries, small animals, eggs, tiny birds, chicks, scraps, offal, and carrion.


The species nests in colonies, frequently among other gulls, most notably the herring gull. Colonies are found on offshore islands and within inland freshwater bodies, as well as on coastal cliffs, sand dunes, salt marshes, moorland, and building rooftops.


Scavenges agricultural fields and landfills. Three dark brown or olive to blue-green eggs are placed in a ground nest lined with dry lichens, plants, and feathers.

Larus Fuscus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Laridae
  • Genus: Larus
  • Species: Larus fuscus

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the Lesser black-backed Gull in the USA

Breeds in northern Europe; uncommon but becoming more widespread in eastern North America; more uncommon inland and in the west.

The Lesser black-backed Gull can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Larus Fuscus – Lesser Black-Backed Gull

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