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Iceland Gull


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A pale gull of the north Atlantic, the Iceland Gull breeds in the high Arctic and winters south of the Maritime Provinces only in small numbers. The American race known as "Kumlien's Gull" is one of the most variable of all gulls in plumage characters, and no two seem to have the same amount of dark on the wingtips

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Adult Description

  • Medium to large gull.
  • Head and underparts white.
  • Back light gray.
  • Wingtips white, or with small, variable amounts of dark.
  • Bill yellow with red spot near tip of lower mandible.

Immature Description

Juvenal Plumage: Variable from overall grayish brown to whitish. Back marked with light brown. Wingtips paler than back. Innermost wing feathers (tertials) patterned with dark and light. Tail white to dusky. Bill all black.
First Winter (Basic I) Plumage: Like juvenal plumage.
Second Winter (Basic II) Plumage: Body and head mostly whitish. Back with some gray; wings still mottled with brown. Bill dark with pale base.

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Iceland Gull Range Map
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Similar Species

  • Darker Thayer's Gull very similar to paler Iceland Gull, and some individuals may not be distinguishable. Thayer's Gull generally has darker wingtips, with extensive dark gray to blackish marks. Juvenile Thayer's Gull has mostly dark inner wing feathers (tertials) and a dark tail.
  • Glaucous Gull similar in adult plumage, but is larger and more robust, and has completely white wingtips. Juvenile glaucous has pink bill with black tip and often is nearly pure white.