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Great black-backed gull


length: 70 centimeters
wingspan: 170 centimeters


2 kilograms


whit, with a dark back and wings, yellow beak with a red spot and flesh-colored legs


maximum 25 years


all kinds of animals, dead or alive


fly, walk and swim


incubation: from mid April for around 27-28 days
number: 2-3 eggs

  • Dut: Grote mantelmeeuw
  • Eng: Great Black-backed Gull
  • Fren: Goéland marin
  • Ger: Mantelmöwe
  • Dan: Svartbag
  • Nor: Svartbak
  • Fries: Sjouwerman
  • Ital: Mugnaiaccio
  • Lat: Larus marinus
Great black-backed gull, Marijke de Boer

Great black-backed gull

The great black-backed gull is largest species of gulls in the world. With its wing span of 170 centimeters and their enormous beak, they look very impressive. They also make a much lower and raspier sound than the other gulls. In 1993, they nested in the Netherlands for the first time. Since then, there have been a number of nesting pairs every year. Greater black-backed gulls eat fish, shellfish and other molluscs, worms and insects. They will also hunt other birds, such as the manx shearwater, little auks and puffins. Due to their size, they easily steal food from other birds.

  • Distribution and habitat
    Distribution of the great black-backed gull, Ecomare
    Source: Important Bird areas for seabirds in the North Sea.

    The great black-backed gull nests mostly along the northern Atlantic coasts, but rarely in the North Sea region. However after breeding season, this species spreads out along the North Sea coasts. Non-breeding great black-backed gulls can be seen along the coast the whole year round. Around 7% of the great black-backed gull population is found in the Dutch section of the North Sea in the autumn and winter. That is equivalent to 71,500 specimen.