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HomeSpits­ber­gen infor­ma­ti­onWild­life → Gre­at black-backed gull

Great black-backed gull (Larus marinus)

Great black-backed gull

Gre­at black-backed gull near Bjørnøya.

Descrip­ti­on: With a wing­s­pan of up to 1.70 m and a weight of 2.1 kg, the Gre­at black-backed gull is amongst the lar­gest gulls in Sval­bard, it is actual­ly even slight­ly lar­ger than the Glau­cous gull, even though it is much less com­mon. With its dark upper wings, the Gre­at black-backed gull is easy to dis­tin­guish from the Glau­cous gull with has sil­ver-grey upper wings. The sexes look the same.

Distribution/migrations: The Gre­at black-backed gull is at home rather in sub-arc­tic are­as than in the high arc­tic, bree­ding on coas­tal rock cliffs in nor­thwes­tern Euro­pe. It is com­mon in Ice­land and nort­hern Scan­di­na­via. In Sval­bard, it is bree­ding in small num­ber, most­ly on Bjørnøya (Bear Island).

Great black-backed gull and Glaucous gull

Gre­at black-backed gull (left) and Glau­cous gull. Bear Island (Bjørnøya).

Bio­lo­gy: The Gre­at black-backed gull is an oppor­tu­nistic pre­d­a­to­ry bird just as the Glau­cous gull and it will eat anything it can get: fish, mus­sels, zoo­plank­ton, eggs, chicks and small birds, main­ly from Kit­ti­wa­kes, Brünich’s guil­lemots and Litt­le auks, but also adults of the­se spe­ci­es. Parts that can not be digested will be thrown up again.


By the way:

New book

my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (3): Die Bären­in­sel und Jan May­en”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!


This and other publishing products of the Spitsbergen publishing house in the Spitsbergen-Shop.

last modification: 2019-02-23 · copyright: Rolf Stange