Seagull flying over a beach


Gulls, especially chip-stealing herring gulls, are a common sight around Britain's coasts and seaside towns and are increasingly found inland. They evolved more than 15 million years ago in the northern Atlantic and spread globally. They are typically grey or white with black markings on the head or wings, webbed feet and stout bills. With around 25 species, the genus contains most of the world's gulls. However, classification has recently become very complicated with species being moved between the different gull groups. The great black-backed gull is the largest gull in the world.

Scientific name: Larus

Rank: Genus

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Map showing the distribution of the Gulls taxa

The shading illustrates the diversity of this group - the darker the colour the greater the number of species. Data provided by WWF's Wildfinder.


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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

BBC News about Gulls