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Gulls and Skuas

Group: 
Birds

From the iconic birds of the seaside with their laughing calls and boisterous behaviour to species seen only distantly out at sea from the shore

The information about this group of species has been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Sites List Records List Original Tweets Guidance Notes

Arctic Skua

Stercorarius parasiticus
Click species photo for details of this species:

An Arctic breeding species but likely turn up off shore along the Dorset coast out of the breeding season.


 

 

Photo by:
Internet Open Source

Long-tailed Skua

Stercorarius longicaudus
Click species photo for details of this species:

An arctic nesting species that is occasionally seen of the Dorset coast on migration.


 

 

Photo by:
Internet Open Source

Pomarine Skua

Stercorarius pomarinus
Click species photo for details of this species:

An arctic breeding species occasionally seen off the Dorset coast on migration.


 

 

Photo by:
Internet Open Source

Great Skua

Catharacta skua
Click species photo for details of this species:

Although associated with northern areas of the British Isles they can be seen off of the Dorset coast from time to time.


 

 

Photo by:
Internet Open Source

Mediterranean Gull

Larus melanocephalus
Click species photo for details of this species:

A rare breeding species in Poole Harbour and a scarce wintering species, especially around Weymouth.


Photo by:
Ian Ballam

Little Gull

Larus minutus
Click species photo for details of this species:

Not a breeding species in Britain but liable to turn up on the Dorset coast at any time.


 

 

Photo by:
Mark Wright

Sabines Gull

Larus sabini
Click species photo for details of this species:

An arctic breeding species that can occasionally be seen on migration off of the Dorset coast especially after autumn storms.


 

 

Photo by:
Internet Open Source

Black-headed Gull

Larus ridibundus
Click species photo for details of this species:

A familiar gull of the Dorset coast where there are shingle banks and beaches where they nest.


 

Photo by:
Peter Orchard

Herring Gull

Larus argentatus
Click species photo for details of this species:

A familiar large gull of seaside towns and coastal cliffs (and rubbish tips)


 

Photo by:
Peter Orchard

Yellow-legged Gull

Larus michahellis
Click species photo for details of this species:

A species (or sub-species of the herring gull) of northern mainland Europe that may be spreading its range into Britain.


 

 

Photo by:
Mike Morse

Iceland Gull

Larus Glaucoides
Click species photo for details of this species:

An uncommon winter visitor to Dorset from more northern areas


 

 

Photo by:
Internet Open Source

Glaucous Gull

Larus hyperboreus
Click species photo for details of this species:

A species from the Arctic that occasionally arrives in Dorset in severe winters 


 

 

Photo by:
Peter Orchard

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Larus fuscus
Click species photo for details of this species:

An occasional winter visitor, much the same as a herring gull and smaller,less common and less black that the greater black-backed gull


 

Photo by:
Peter Orchard

Great Black-backed Gull

Larus marinus
Click species photo for details of this species:

The largest of the gulls usually seen along the coast of Dorset with a very distinctive black back. 


 

Photo by:
Peter Orchard

Common Gull

Larus canus
Click species photo for details of this species:

An occasional winter visitor to the Dorset coast; smaller than a herring gull and different colouring to the black-headed gull.


 

 

Photo by:
Peter Orchard

Kittiwake

Rissa tridactyla
Click species photo for details of this species:

Once a breeding species in Dorset but now a winter visitor off-shore.


 

 

Photo by:
Debby Saunders

These much rarer species have also been recorded in Dorset:

Click/tap the species common name if you want to see more information.

Species Common Name Scientific Name Status
Bonapartes Gull Chroicocephalus philadelphia

A North American gull occasionally turning up here in Dorset.


 

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans

A variant of our herring gull from the far east of Europe and a scarce visitor this far west.


 

Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarernsis

An occasional winter visitors to the harbours of Dorset.


 

Kumliens Gull Larus glaucoides kumlieni

A native of the Canadian arctic and a very rare visitor to Dorset.


 

Laughing Gull Leucophaeus atricilla

A common species of the Atlantic coast of the American continent but a rare visitor to Dorset


 

Franklins Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan

A migrant species from central Canada and the USA that occasionally gets blown off course


 

Ross,s Gull Rhodostethia rosea

A very scarce visitor to Dorset from the Arctic areas of Canada and Siberia