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Lesser black-backed Gull

Larus fuscus

Lesser black-backed gull. Photo Jan Nyman.

General information. The lesser black-backed gull is a sparsely occurring bird species in Finland, where this nesting population has decreased over the past few years. Contrary to other gulls, the lesser black-backed gull migrates south for winter, all the way to Africa. Other species of gulls stay mainly around the Baltic and North Sea area. The first lesser black-backed gulls arrive to their nesting skerries in April. Autumn migration takes place during August through to October. The lesser black-backed gull is a vulnerable species according to Finland’s threat classification system.

  • Length 50-60 cm
  • Nests on the ground or occasionally on rooftops
  • Migrates to Africa for winter
  • Feeds primarily on fish

Habitat. Inland, the lesser black-backed gull inhabits islands within large lakes. Along the coast, it is found primarily on the reefs of the outer archipelago. During the past few years, it has also been observed nesting on rooftops of multi-story buildings, similarly to the common gull and herring gull. The first rooftop nests appeared in Vaasa during the Bird Atlas survey work.

Distribution in Vaasa. The lesser black-backed gull does not nest as plentifully as other gull species in Vaasa. It was observed during nesting season in approximately 60 survey blocks, with the highest concentrations occurring in the inner and outer archipelago. Along the shoreline, the lesser black-backed gull can be sighted neighboring other gull species on small skerries and islands.