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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.



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