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Heermann's Gull

Larus heermanni ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Near Threatened

The strikingly marked Heermann's Gull is common along the West Coast of the United States. This gray-bodied, white-headed gull breeds in Mexico and then moves north along the Pacific Coast to southern British Columbia.

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Appearance

Gulls
Gulls
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized gull.
  • Body gray.
  • Back darker.
  • Head white.
  • Bill red.

Immature Description

Juvenal plumage: Uniformly sooty brown all over. Buff edges to feather tips, giving scaly look. Bill two-toned, with pale flesh base and black tip. Eyes dark. Legs black.
First winter (Basic I): Uniformly sooty brown all over. Bill two-toned, with pale flesh base and black tip. Eyes dark. Legs black. Wing feathers and tail black.
Second winter (Basic II): Body sooty gray. Head and nape slate black. Eyes with thin, pale white crescents above and below. Secondaries and tertials dark with white tips. Tail black with narrow white band at tip.
Second summer (Alternate II): Imperfect whitish hood. Body sooty gray. Eyes with thin, pale white crescents above and below. Secondaries and tertials dark with white tips. Tail black with narrow white band at tip.

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Heermann
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Field MarksHelp

  • Adult breeding

    Heermann's Gull

    Adult breeding
    • © Greg Meyer/CLO
  • Adult nonbreeding

    Heermann's Gull

    Adult nonbreeding
    • © Kevin T. Karlson
  • First winter

    Heermann's Gull

    First winter
    • © Roger Aitkenhead/CLO

Similar Species

  • Adult unmistakable; only North American gull with a sooty gray body and a white head.
  • Immature similar to jaegers, but all jaegers have prominent white patches in wings in flight.

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