Herring gull (Larus argentatus)

The herring gull is a gull of medium size. The species is an omnivore, and feed from several different sources by acting as a carrion bird, clepto-parasite and predator.

Herring gull

Herring gull. Photo: Bjørn Frantzen / Norwegian Polar Institute


The herring gull, which has the typical characters of the genus Larus, has a circumpolar distribution. It breeds along the coast from 30° to 70 °N, but it may also breed far inland. The taxonomy of the species is very complex, and several sub-species are recognized.


This species feeds on a great variety of food items obtained in many different ways, including scavenging, piracy, predation, surface dipping, plunging and sometimes shallow diving. It is a migratory bird that probably winters along the coast of northern Europe.

Management status and monitoring

In Svalbard the herring gull breeds on Bjørnøya and along the west coast of Spitsbergen in low numbers.

MOSJ indicators (Environmental Monitoring of Svalbard and Jan Mayen):

Awaiting results from MOSJ…

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