Great black-backed gull taking off from the sea

Great black-backed gull

Great black-backed gulls are the largest gulls in the world, even bigger than the mighty herring gull. It's fair to say that these are not 'nice' birds: they are voracious opportunists and not much is safe from this greedy gull: weak and injured birds are easily overpowered, marine creatures are easy prey and scavenging from rubbish dumps and landfill sites adds to their varied diet. The great black-backed gull's greatest weapon is a wicked curved bill that smashes, stabs and tears with ease. Found around the coasts, these gulls move inland during the winter.

Scientific name: Larus marinus

Rank: Species

Common names:

Greater black-backed gull

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Map showing the distribution of the Great black-backed gull taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Great black-backed gull can be found in a number of locations including: Europe, Mediterranean, North America, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales, Ynys-hir nature reserve. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Great black-backed gull distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1