Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z restore

Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Larus fuscus graellsii - Lesser Black-backed Gull

Range & Status

N. & NW Europe. Nominate fuscus is probably specifically separable as ' Baltic Gull' , a very rare vagrant to Britain, migrating from the Baltic region to winter in E. Africa. British taxon and subsp. intermedius of North Sea and Denmark winter in W. Europe and W. Africa. British population (112,000 breeding pairs, 61,000 in winter) is highly significant.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: locally numerous on passage. Rare breeder with odd pairs scattered on grassy slopes on coastal cliffs and islands around both N. (mainly) and S. coasts \endash totalled 70 pairs in Seabird 2000 survey. Isles of Scilly: the breeding population of 33-35 pairs in 2006 is Nationally Important. The gull is the key species for the designation of IOS as an SPA. There is some suggestion that the 2006 total represents a 10% decline since the 1980s (c. 40 - 50 pairs). The main colonies are on the islands of Gugh, Samson, St. Helen' s and Annet where they tend to nest more inland than Herring Gulls in Bracken Pteridium aquilinum areas.

Habitat & Ecology

Formerly regarded as a summer visitor to UK but since 1950 overwintering numbers have built up around rubbish tips and reservoirs. In some cities it has taken to nesting on rooftops. In Cornwall large numbers assemble on passage and winter. Typically feeds in inland fields and around the moor gathering to roost on larger reservoirs \endash 2000 at Colliford in October 1995 and on N. Cornwall estuaries \endash 1200 on the Camel and 1000 at Hayle in February 2004.


None apparent, although disturbance of nesting colonies makes chicks and eggs

vulnerable to predation.


Monitoring of breeding numbers, especially on Scilly.


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.