Family:Gulls and terns
54cm to 60cm
130cm to 150cm
690g to 1.44kg
The herring gull is a large member of the gull family, which can be found all year round on our coasts and inland around refuse sites, reservoirs, lakes (especially during winter) and fields. They are also rather noisy characters.
Adults have white underparts, light grey backs and black tips on their wings. They have pink legs, with webbed feet and large, ever so slightly hooked bills that have a red spot. Younger birds have a mottled brown plumage.
Herring Gulls are omnivorous, which means their diets consist of things like young birds, eggs, fish, small mammals, carrion, offal, fruits and seeds - pretty much anything!
Named in honour of the French naturalist and ornithologist, Jean Victor Audouin (1797 – 1841) the Audouin’s gull is one of the world’s rarest and is limited in the main to regions within and surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Terns are water birds from the family Sternidae and are expert fish catchers. There are generally considered to be forty five separate species of terns worldwide. Generally smaller than gulls but with long tails, thin bodies and short legs, they are long distance migrants.
There are four sub-species of the common gull with the European variant being the nominate. The other three are the Russian, Kamchatka and American, which are all predominantly confined to the geographical region attributed by their name. There are subtle differences in plumage and overall size of bird between sub-species.
The title of Black-headed Gull is rather a misnomer for this bird as its head is not black but a dark brown colour and only in adult birds during the breeding season. It is not present during the winter months or in other plumages. Unlike many gulls it is not restricted to coastal regions and is widespread inland in both rural and urban areas.
A graceful tern, easily distinguishable in their black summer plumage, which they're named after.
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