In most other languages this is the 'Silver Gull' - and that is what 'argentatus' means. However it also feeds avidly on Herring where they are available. This is big gull with a yellow bill and eye - a red splash on the bill is an aiming point for the chicks. The otherwise white adult has a silver mantle and wings with black outer primaries with white windows.
The systematics of these birds is very complicated with intergrades into the dark mantled Lesser Black-backed Gull and the recent decision to separate the Yellow-legged Gull from the pale pink legged Herring. This is a common coastal bird of both the Atlantic and the Pacific with birds being found well out to sea and in some inland areas both during the breeding season and the winter.
All sorts of calls and displays studied in great detail. Omnivorous was a word that could have been invented to describe its food. Over 200,000 pairs breed in Britain and Ireland and the birds are spreading into new areas with adoption of house roofs as substitutes for cliffs!
The big silver gull.
Length 610 mm Closed wing 415 mm Weight 950 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead