European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
Adult Herring Gull, Dunbar, Scotland, June 2000 - click for larger image

Scotland

The European Herring Gull belongs to a complex group of birds from a taxonomic point of view. On the one hand it can be regarded as one end of a ring of similar gulls that circle the Arctic showing gradual changes in appearance (a "cline") until, at the other end of the ring we find the Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus. On the other hand the Yellow-legged Gull Larus cachinnans, now regarded as a full species, used to be regarded as a subspecies of Herring Gull.

2nd Summer Herring Gull, Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image The adult European Herring Gull has pale grey upperparts, a white head (streaked in autumn) and a yellow bill with red spot. Herring Gulls have pink legs at all ages. The second year birds in the second and fourth photos have pale grey beginning to show through the spotted brown and has a pink base to its dark bill with which, in the 4th photo, it is trying to open a razor clam. Note that the underwing is pure white compared to the Lesser Black-backed Gull.
Herring Gull chick, Dunbar, Scotland, June 2000 - click for larger image While fish and shellfish comprise a large part of their diet, Herring Gulls will eat almost anything as well as being predators of small birds, eggs and rodents. They are found in large numbers at rubbish dumps and are regarded as pests when numbers get out of hand.

There is an illustration in HBW, Volume 3, Page 607.

2nd Winter Herring Gull eating a razor clam, Musselburgh, Scotland, March 2001 - click for larger image Herring Gull, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland, June 2002 - click for larger image
1st Winter Herring Gull, Musselburgh, Scotland, August 2002 - click for larger image Juvenile Herring Gull, Aberlady, East Lothian, Scotland, August 2002 - click for larger image
Herring Gull, St Kilda, Scotland, August 2003 - click for larger image Herring Gull, Kinlochbervie, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
Herring Gull, North Rona, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image 1st Summer Herring Gull, Loch Inchard, Scotland, May 2005 - click for larger image
Herring Gull, Staffa, Scotland, June 2005 - click for larger image
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