Bill yellow: legs pale flesh-colour: tarsus three inches: wings reaching very little beyond the tail: shafts of the primaries black: mantle (in the adult) grayish black.

L. marinus, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 760. Great Black-backed Gull, Mont. Orn. Diet. Selb. Illust. vol. ii. p. 507. pl. 97. Black-backed Gull, Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. ii. p. 201.

Dimensions

Entire length near thirty inches: length of the bill three inches six lines: breadth, wings extended, five feet nine or ten inches. Mont.

Description

Distinguished from the last species, which it closely resembles, by its superior size, longer tarsus, and by the colour of the legs. (Adult in unnter). Crown, region of the eyes, occiput and nape, white, with longitudinal streaks of pale brown on the shafts of the feathers: back, scapulars and wing-coverts, deep grayish black: forehead, throat, neck, all the under parts, rump and tail, pure white: primaries black towards their extremities, all terminated by a large white space; secondaries and scapulars tipped with white: bill thick and strong; bright yellow; the angle of the lower mandible blood-red, enclosing a dusky spot not found in the last species: irides gamboge-yellow: orbits red: legs livid white, or pale flesh-colour. (Summer plumage). The whole head and neck pure white, without any streaks of brown: orbits orange: the rest as in winter. (Young of the year). Similar to that of the two last species, but always larger, with the bill stronger. Head, and fore part of the neck, grayish white, with numerous brown spots largest on the neck: upper plumage dusky brown, all the feathers edged and tipped with reddish white; wing-coverts marked with transverse bars of this last colour: under parts dirty gray, with broad zig-zag streaks and spots of brown: primaries dusky, sometimes finely tipped with white: middle tail-feathers almost wholly dusky; lateral feathers black towards their extremities; all edged and tipped with whitish: bill black: irides and orbits brown: legs livid gray. During the second year, the colours of the plumage undergo no material change: only the gray on the head and under parts gradually gives place to a purer white, while the brown spots decrease in size and number; the base and tip of the bill also assume a livid tinge. After the second autumnal moult, the mantle of grayish black begins to show itself, though still variegated with large irregular brown spots; the white on the under parts is now nearly perfected; the tail white, variegated in parts with black; the bill becomes livid yellow spotted with black; and the red spot, enclosing a black one, appears at the corner of the lower mandible. At the age of three years, or after the third autumnal moult, the plumage is matured. (Egg). Yellow-brown tinged with green, sparingly spotted with slate-colour and dark brown: long. diam. three inches two lines; trans, diam. two inches four lines.

Not so plentiful as the two last species, but occasionally met with on most parts of the British coast. Observed by Montagu in considerable abundance on the extensive sandy flats of the coast of Caermarthenshire. In the immature state, it is sometimes seen far inland. Breeds in the Orkneys, and on the northern shores of Scotland. Nest placed on the shelves of insulated rocks. Eggs three or four in number. Food, fish, carrion, and any animal matter.