lesser black-backed gull
lesser black-backed gull defined in 1930 yearlesser black-backed gull - Lesser Black-backed Gull;
lesser black-backed gull - Bill, legs, and feet yellow; summer plumage of the adult white, except on the mantle, which varies from slate-grey to black. Length, twenty-three inches.
From its abundance, its large size - which js nearly the same as that of the herring-gull - and its extremely conspicuous black-and- white plumage at maturity, the lesser black-back is one of the most familiar birds on our coasts. The young differ greatly from the adults, having a slate-grey beak, flesh-coloured legs, and a general brown plumage. The mature breeding colours, including yellow on legs and bill, with a vermilion patch on the lower mandible, are not perfect until the fourth year. Judging solely from this fact of its slow growth to maturity, we may take it that the lesser black- back lives long - that its natural term, as in some accipitrine species, probably exceeds a century. It is certainly the case that this gull is able, not only to keep itself alive, but to keep up its numbers, notwithstanding its large size and the dislike with which it is regarded on account of its predacious habits. The unfeathered biped is ever anxious to keep all the killing and plundering in his own hands. The voice of this gull is very powerful and far-reaching, and, when soaring with its fellows, occasionally all the birds unite their voices in a chorus of short and long cries, laughter-like in character, yet with something solemn, and even desolate, in the sound, as of the sea. It is gregarious and social at all seasons, and breeds in gulleries, where the nests are placed close together on the level ground. The three egg» are of a light stone colour, spotted and blotched with blackish brown and grey. The largest and best-known colony on the British coasts is at the Farne Islands, and of that colony Seebohm writes: ' It is a wonderful sight on approaching an island to see the green mass sprinkled all over with large white-looking birds, every one standing head to wind, like an innumerable army of white weathercocks.' It is also fine to see and hear them, when a person walks about among the nests, stooping occasionally to examine eggs or handle the yellow, black-spotted chicks: the birds hover in a dense cloud over his head, their deep, powerful cries mingling in one mighty uproar, and, at short intervals, one or two birds dash down out of the bird-cloud as if to strike his head, and, missing it by an inch or two, reascend to repeat the action.
near lesser black-backed gull in Knolik
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