Gulls (Laridae)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) - HBW 3, p. 611

French: Goéland brun German: Heringsmöwe Spanish: Gaviota Sombría

Taxonomy: Larus fuscus Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden.
Closely related to L. argentatus, and sometimes considered conspecific, but in most areas of sympatry the two are reproductively isolated; molecular evidence separates present species from L. argentatus and L. cachinnans. Very complex systematics involving several of the races. Some evidence that heuglini overlaps nominate fuscus, perhaps without interbreeding; may merit specific status as L. heuglini, which may even include L. a vegae. Form described as “antelius” (W Siberia) is a synonym of heuglini; “taimyrensis.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Larus fuscus Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden.
Closely related to L. argentatus, and sometimes considered conspecific, but in most areas of sympatry the two are reproductively isolated; molecular evidence separates present species from L. argentatus and L. cachinnans. Very complex systematics involving several of the races. Some evidence that heuglini overlaps nominate fuscus, perhaps without interbreeding; may merit specific status as L. heuglini, which may even include L. a vegae. Form described as “antelius” (W Siberia) is a synonym of heuglini; “taimyrensis” (Yenisey and Taymyr Peninsula) considered not separable from heuglini. See also L. argentatus. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • graellsii A. E. Brehm, 1857 - Iceland, Faeroes, British Is, France and Iberia; winters from SW Europe to W Africa.
  • fuscus Linnaeus, 1758 - Sweden and N Norway E to White Sea; winters mostly in Africa and SW Asia.
  • intermedius Schiøler, 1922 - Netherlands, Denmark and S Norway, with isolated population in NE Spain (Ebro Delta); winters mostly in W Europe and W Africa.
  • heuglini Bree, 1876 - N Siberia, from S Kola Peninsula E to Taymyr Peninsula; winters from Middle East S to E Africa, and E to NW India.