• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Mew Gull


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

One of the smallest of the "white-headed" gulls, the Mew Gull is common along Pacific Coast beaches in winter. It also occurs in Eurasia, where it is known at the "Common Gull."

Build a Birdhouse
Subscribe to Living Bird Magazine


Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized to small gull.
  • Unmarked yellow bill.
  • Head and underparts white.
  • Back medium gray.
  • Wingtips black with white spots.
  • Legs yellow.

Immature Description

Juvenal Plumage: Dirty, grayish brown head, back, and chest. Back feathers with light tips, giving a scaly appearance. Underparts light brownish gray, barred on the flanks. Tail dark brown, with slightly paler base. Wingtips blackish. Bill black. Eyes dark. Legs pinkish.
First Winter (Basic I) Plumage: Like juvenal, but head and belly paler.
First Summer (Alternate I) Plumage:Back gray. Wing coverts worn and white. Head whitish. Wingtips worn and pale.
Second Winter (Basic II) Plumage: Back mostly gray; some feathers brown. Head and neck washed with grayish brown. Tail white with irregular black band near tip. Feathers of wingtips black or blackish, with only small white spots.

Range Map Help

Mew Gull Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

Similar Species

  • Ring-billed Gull has a larger bill with a black ring, and a slightly lighter mantle. The white spots on the outer wingtips are larger in Mew than in Ring-billed Gull. Young Ring-billed Gull has a thinner dark tail band instead of all dark tail.
  • California Gull is larger, has a larger bill, and has greenish gray legs. Its bill is yellow with a black ring and a red spot.
  • Herring Gull is larger, with pinkish legs, light eyes, and red spot on lower mandible. Back color is a shade lighter gray.
  • Thayer's Gull is larger, has pink legs, and little black in the wingtips.