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Gulls

Known to most as seagulls, this group of birds are famous at the coast. But did you know that we have many different species of gulls that can be spotted on the Solent shores? Take a look and find out more about these, often misunderstood, bird species.

Black-headed gull

In summer they have a white head and a dark chocolate brown hood, not black as their name suggests. Their head only appears black from a distance. In winter they have a white head with a black ear spot as shown in the picture.

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Common gull

Common gull

I look like a smaller version of the herring gull except that I have greenish legs rather than pink, and I don’t have the distinctive red dot on my beak.

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Great black-backed gull

Great black-backed gulls are large and powerful gulls. They will eat most things but usually prefer fish, crustaceans and shellfish. They have also been known to eat birds and mammals – including rabbits which they can swallow down in one!

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Herring gull

The commonly referred “seagull” heard at the seaside. They can also be found inland around rubbish tips, fields and large reservoirs and lakes, especially in winter. Herring gulls are clever and very opportunistic and have the reputation of stealing chips and ice creams.

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Lesser black backed gull

Lesser black-backed gull

I have a dark grey back and wings and yellow legs which makes me easy to tell apart from herring gulls. I can look fairly elegant in flight compared to other larger gulls due to my longer wings.

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Mediterranean gull

You will see me feeding around the shore in many places. Watch out though I look very similar to my friends the black-headed gulls. In the summer we both have dark heads – although I actually have a black head whereas they have chocolate brown heads!

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