Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)

(last update: July 12, 2015)

Jean-Michel Sauvage (France)
Morten Helberg (Norway)
Nils Helge Lorentzen (Norway)
Mars Muusse (Netherlands)

Great Black-backed Gull H30 (Larus marinus) 2cy: February 27 2009, Fraserburgh, Scotland

The bird was marked as a nestling at a colony in the Highland Region of Scotland (details below) as part of a project organised by Hugh Insley (Eilean Hoan), Alan Lauder, Robin Sellers and Mark Oksien (Caithness and Stronsay, Orkney).

They have marked these birds to try and find out something about the movement patterns of the birds, in particular where they go in the non-breeding season and the timing of movements. They are also interested in finding out more about the birds’ faithfulness to their wintering sites and the extent to which they shift location within and between seasons. The researchers hope eventually to be able to shed some light also on the mortality, age of first breeding and whether birds return to their natal colonies to breed or move elsewhere.

From the limited information available to date (mainly derived from the recoveries of birds fitted with conventional metal rings) it is clear that the majority of the Great Black-backs move south dispersing widely on Scottish coasts, east and to a lesser extent west. A few get as far as northern England, and there are two overseas recoveries, one to the Netherlands and one in the Faeroes.

To assist in these studies the Scots particularly welcome repeat sightings, even if they are in the same place as earlier ones. In the first instance please send sightings (including if possible, please, details of the leg to which the colour ring was fitted, and the bird’s age judged from its plumage - though just a note of the ring colour and bird’s age will be sufficient to enable the general area from which the bird originated to be deduced) to Mark Oksien. All sightings will be acknowledged.

Ringing details:
Colour ring: Yellow/black inscription H3O Metal ring: MA13123
Ringed as nestling on: 20/06/2008 Brood of 2
Place of ringing: Eilean Hoan, Durness (58.34N 04.41W)
27/02/2009 Fraserburgh Harbour (This represents the only sighting for this bird to date.)
Report rings at: Mark Oksien (gbbgulls at