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Glaucous Gull

Larus hyperboreus ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A huge gull of the frozen North, the Glaucous Gull breeds across most of the high Arctic. It winters farther north than most gulls, but it does turn up as far south as California and Virginia.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
26.8 in
68 cm
Wingspan
58.7–71.7 in
149–182 cm
Weight
44.1–95.2 oz
1250–2700 g
Other Names
  • Goéland bourgmestre (French)

Cool Facts

  • First- and second-year Glaucous Gulls appear to move farther southward than adults, and most individuals seen in the southern portion of the winter range are immatures.
  • The Glaucous Gull is an active predator at seabird nesting colonies. It will walk into colonies and take eggs and chicks left unprotected, and will fly above a foraging arctic fox or person disturbing the colony and take eggs and chicks that are exposed during the disturbance.

Habitat


Shore-line

Breeds along marine and freshwater coasts, tundra, offshore islands, cliffs, shorelines, ice edges. Rarely far inland. Winters along maritime coasts, freshwater lakes, agricultural fields, urban areas, and garbage dumps.

Food


Omnivore

Marine invertebrates, fish, eggs and chicks of waterfowl and seabird species, small birds, small mammals, and vegetation. Scavenges fish, carrion, and human refuse.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–3 eggs
Egg Description
Light gray-brown or olive with gray and dark brown spots.
Condition at Hatching
Alert and mobile, covered with dense, hairlike, gray-brown down.
Nest Description

Shallow depression in mound of grass, sedges, moss, twigs, and occasionally feathers. Little or no lining. Placed on islands, edges of ponds on open tundra, cliff ledges, grassy slopes above cliffs, rock scree at foot of cliffs.

Nest Placement

Cliff

Behavior


Soaring

Captures food near surface of water or on shore. Steals food from other gulls. Swallows large prey whole.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Least Concern

Few changes in population size or distribution reported in North America or globally.

Credits

  • Gilchrist, H. G. 2001. Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus). In The Birds of North America, No. 573 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.

Range Map Help

Glaucous Gull Range Map
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