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A photo of a Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)
Glaucous-winged Gull

Glaucous-winged Gull

Larus glaucescens

The Glaucous-winged Gull, Larus glaucescens, is a large seabird with a white head and underparts. Its mantle is a silver-gray, and the wings bear the same hue, a characteristic glaucous color that gives the species its name. This bird's wingspan stretches impressively between 120 to 150 centimeters, and it has a robust body mass ranging from 730 to 1,690 grams. The legs of this gull are a soft pink, while its beak is a striking yellow adorned with a red spot near the tip. The eyes are typically dark, encircled by pinkish skin.

Identification Tips

Adult Glaucous-winged Gulls have a flat forehead and a yellow beak with a red subterminal spot. In winter, their head and nape exhibit a smudged pattern, and the bill may show dark markings. Juveniles are distinguishable by their brown or gray plumage and black beaks, taking four years to acquire their full adult coloration.

Habitat

This gull is a coastal bird, seldom straying far from the ocean's edge. It is often found scavenging along beaches and in urban areas.

Distribution

The Glaucous-winged Gull breeds along the western coast of Alaska and the Russian Far East. It is a resident from Alaska to Washington and is seen in the Puget Sound region. In winter, it extends its range to the coasts of California, Oregon, and down to Baja California and Sonora. It is an extremely rare visitor to the Western Palearctic region.

Behaviour

The Glaucous-winged Gull is known for its scavenging habits, feeding on dead or weakened animals, fish, mussels, and human-provided scraps. It is also known to nest in the summer, producing two to three chicks that fledge at six weeks. This gull is comfortable around humans, often seen taking food offered by people or rummaging through unsecured garbage.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of this gull include a low-pitched "kak-kak-kak" or "wow," as well as a more high-pitched wailing sound.

Breeding

During the summer months, the Glaucous-winged Gull nests and raises two to three chicks, which take to the wing after six weeks.

Similar Species

The Glaucous-winged Gull frequently hybridizes with the Western Gull, resulting in the 'Olympic Gull' hybrid. These hybrids may resemble Glaucous-winged Gulls but have darker wingtips and may exhibit a heavier bill.

Diet and Feeding

This gull is an opportunistic feeder, consuming a wide range of food from marine organisms to human refuse. It is often seen foraging along the coastline or within urban environments.

Conservation status

The Glaucous-winged Gull is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of population decline.

Glaucous-winged Gull Sounds

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Recorded by: © 
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Glaucous-winged Gull Fun Facts

Did you know?
Glaucous-winged Gulls regularly hybridise with Western Gulls, their offspring are know as 'Olympic Gulls'

Glaucous-winged Gulls on Birda

Sightings

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