• WildlifeWildlife WatchingVermont Bird Records CommitteeLesser Black-backed Gull

    Vermont Rare Bird Reports 2019

    Common NameLesser Black-backed Gull
    Scientific NameLarus fuscus
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation05/03/2019
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed2
    Reporting Observer's NameSusan Elliott
    Mailing Address62 Heather Ln
    Rutland, Vermont 05701
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed05/06/2019
    Names & Emails of Other Contributing Observers


    Latitude of Observation43.661127
    Longitude of Observation-73.19343
    Place NameCrystal Beach, Lake Bomoseen
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org
    Time of Day10:24 AM
    Length of Time Observed10 minutes
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)75 yards
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)75 yards
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    very rainy! no wind

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Vortex Viper 8x42; Kowa scope, 65 mm, 20-60

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    none; fairly familiar with Great Black-backed Gull

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    small spit of land near the beach at the mouth of Sucker Brook, usually downed trees or large branches are nearby, water shallow; frequent spot for gulls in migration; also present that day: Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, Osprey, Canada Goose, Bufflehead and several passerine species in the trees on shore

    Behaviors Observed

    commingling with the other gull species; the Lesser Black-backed Gulls did not fly, but some of the Ring-billed Gulls took off briefly and returned; the Lesser Black-backed Gulls stood in the water with some of the other gulls

    Description of Vocalizations

    none that I could separate from the Ring-billed Gulls and Herring Gulls

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    The day was extremely rainy. At first, I was just going to observe the gulls from the parking area, but seeing what I thought were two Great Black-backed Gulls, I took my scope out and walked down toward the beach area. I took several photos, but I did not determine the species to be Lesser Black-backed Gull at the time. The gulls seemed to be the same size as some immature gulls nearby and, at first, I thought they might be immature Great Black-backed Gulls as well (to account for the size similarity). As it was raining so hard I did not want to get my camera equipment wet so I did not linger. Later that day I put a couple of the photos on iNat and someone suggested it might be Lesser Black-backed Gulls (which would then account for the size similarity with what turned out to be immature Herring Gulls). Upon examining the photos more closely I could see the yellow legs which is consistent with Lesser Black-backed Gull.

    Relative Size & Shape

    As both adult and immature Herring and Ring-billed gulls were nearby, along with Bonaparte's Gulls, there was good size comparison. The two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were slightly smaller than the immature Herring Gulls.


    head, face, throat and nape white; it was hard to see the eye, they appeared dark in the field, but upon zooming in on the photos, that may not be the case

    Feet & Bill

    feet in the water, but the legs were yellow; bill yellow with dark tip

    Upper Back

    slaty gray, but not as dark as a Great Black-backed Gull; one of the two Lesser Black-backed Gulls was very slightly darker than the other

    Lower Back & Rump

    not visible


    black, folded against body

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    white breast, belly and flanks; undertail coverts not visible


    tip black, but not much else visible

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    Great Black-backed Gull eliminated due to size and clearly yellow legs on the Lesser Black-backed Gull; not quite a bulky as a Great Black-backed.

    Other Notes & Comments

    One adult; the second maybe three-year as it was not quite as dark.

    Additionally, two immature gulls seen in one of the photos seem to have lighter heads than the immature Herring Gulls; I can't be sure of the ID of those (immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls?).

    This report was written from notes taken:Written from Memory