Home Birds Home

Herring Gull Bird

Identification of Herring Gull Bird

Herring Gull Bird 1 Length: 56-64cm Wingspan: 138-150cm Call: "kyaow"

Herring Gull Bird is the most familiar large 'seagull' in our region, with a pale grey back and upperwings, a white head that is variably streaked in winter, pink legs and a yellow bill with a red spot on the gonys. The wingtips of Herring Gull bird are black with white tips and a white 'mirror' spanning the two outermost primaries. The iris is pale yellow. Immatures take four years to mature, and in the first year are a rather uniform pale brown, blotched and barred, with the feathers of the wing and mantle well marked with black bars and centres. As they mature further, the mantle and wings gradually moult out brown feathers and acquire grey ones.

Habitat of Herring Gull Bird

Common, typically breeding in coastal areas where it prefers sea cliffs and rocky coasts, but Herring Gull Bird also nests on islands, dunes, moorland and often on buildings in coastal towns and ports, occasionally well inland. During the remainder of the year it uses these same habitats, but also ranges more widely on to arable fields and farmland, harbours, bays, estuaries and saltmarshes, always keeping within range of large water bodies such as reservoirs and lakes for roosting, and seldom very far from the coast. Successful and adaptable, it takes advantage of human food refuse, scavenging from fishing boats, markets, docks and rubbish tips.

Song / call of Herring Gull Bird

Herring Gull Bird 2

Herring Gull Bird is quite vocal, especially during the breeding season. The simple and familiar call is a high ringing "eeowl" or "kyaow", often heard as a medley of cries when several birds are present. Variants include a rather high-pitched "eeoow!", sometimes an "eeuurrw!" in a lower pitch, or a shorter, sharper "kliu", etc. A rather deep barking "og'og'og'og" is given in anxiety, as well as a softer, less worried "ah'ah'ah'ow". The long call is "eeo'eeo'eeo'eeoo 'eeoo'eeoo'eu'eu'argh'argh'argh'aa-ow'aa-ow", delivered in a display sequence where the neck stretches down to the ground, is then nulled inwards and slowly raised upwards before relaxing.