GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL

GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (Larus marinus)

The Great black-backed gull is not quite black, but is rather dark grey on its back and wings, whereas the head and neck are white. It is the largest member of its family at some 30 inches long (75 cm). This bird is found in the northern Atlantic regions on each side of the ocean, and is a year-round resident in PEI. Like other gulls, they are scavengers, hence can be found in large numbers around garbage. They also eat fish, and are also known to throw shellfish on rocks or roads when flying, in order to break the shell and reach its contents.

As opposed to other gulls however, the great black-backed gull has aggressive predatory habits against other birds, and in PEI this is now threatening the common tern populations. Individuals can be seen during the summer perched, among other places, on top the lamp posts of the Hillsborough bridge, from which they get a 360 degree view of their surroundings.

Great Black-backed Gull - Borden, PEI - Sept. 2, 2013
Great Black-backed Gull – Borden, PEI – Sept. 2, 2013 – Roberta Palmer
Great Black-backed Gull with Herring Gulls - Summerside, PEI - Apr. 2017 - © Marie Smith
Great Black-backed Gull with Herring Gulls – Summerside, PEI – Apr. 2017 – © Marie Smith

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