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Herring gull

What am I?

I am a Gull. The commonly referred “seagull” heard at the seaside is likely to be the herring gull.

Where do I come from?

Found almost all round the British and Irish coasts. British adults do not travel far but large number of Scandinavian birds visit Britain in winter.

A bit about me

The iconic seaside sound of a “seagull” is attributed to the herring gull. 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. They are not to blame, we are. People do encourage them and can be attracted to areas if litter is not disposed correctly. We have several species of gull and the herring gull can be mistaken for the common gull or lesser black-backed gull.

Local spotlight

Although one of our most common gulls on the Solent, in recent years their numbers have fallen, especially during winter possibly due to disease, reduced food supplies and fewer visitors from Europe, perhaps linked to climate change.

Conservation status

I’m red listed in the UK

My name might not be listed in the Solent’s Special Protection Areas but I am still definitely important for the coastal ecosytem and form part of the waterbird assemblages which these regions are protected for.

Fun fact

It is believed the herring gulls name is a misnomer, because this bird does not favour herring, but It may have arisen from the colour of the birds back and wings, which are silvery, resembling the colour of herring.