Gulls in Norway

“Gulls?!” some might burst out. “That must be strictly for the birds …”
Well, at least it’s for the more dedicated birder.
Although the gulls do not offer beautiful bird song and at first sight may look alike, the variation within this species is also noteworthy.

How Many Gull Species Breed in Norway?
There are 7 gull species that breed in Norway—if not counting Svalbard.

Which Gulls Are Present in Norway?
Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, European Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, and Black-legged Kittiwake are all common gull species that breed in mainland Norway. Little Gull breeds a few places in the country. Other gulls are considered rare. Among the most frequently seen rarities are Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull.
In Svalbard, Glaucous Gull, Ivory Gull, and Sabine’s Gull breed as well. There are also good chances of finding other interesting gulls there.

Breeding Gulls in Norway

Why Are Some Birdwatchers Specializing in Determining Gull Species?
Many birdwatchers consider it a fun challenge to be able to separate the gulls from each other and determine their age and species. And with this knowledge, finding rare gulls when they show up will be a lot easier.

How Can You Learn to Determine Gull Species?
Be prepared that it will require practice. The best tip is, with help from bird books and observations, to familiarize yourself with the colours of the feathers, beaks, and legs. Their sounds are also good to learn. Adult birds are normally not that difficult to determine the species of.
The challenge are the middle phases before adulthood. This process is actually not equally long for the different gull species. And during this period, their plumage changes every year, and so does the colour of their beak and legs as well. Some species are full-grown within 2 years while others require more than 4 years. This means that a young bird of one species can look almost the same as an older young bird of another species—even though they will end up looking pretty different as adults. Yet another thing is that gulls change feathers depending on the season. So now you are probably realizing why determining gull species requires practice.
A good tip is to take pictures of the gulls. In that way, you can examine their plumage thoroughly at a later time.

Some of the Rare Gulls Seen in Norway


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Where Can You Find Gulls in Norway?
Almost everywhere. However, if you want to study gulls close up or look for rare gulls, the best places are fishery harbours and city parks. Bring some bread crumbs and you will be very popular. And if you can handle the smell, dumps are great.

Here Are Some Places You Can Hope to Find Rare Gulls in Norway

When new birding locations are added, the list will be updated.