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Glaucous-winged Gull

Larus glaucescens ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: LARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A large gull of the north Pacific Coast, the Glaucous-winged Gull is common in coastal cities and towns. Its wingtips are colored unlike any other gull's, being neither black nor white. Instead, they are a medium gray, not much different from the back color.

ML Essential Set
Bird Festivals

Appearance

Gulls
Gulls
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Large gull.
  • Head and underparts white.
  • Back silvery gray.
  • Wingtips medium gray with white spots near tip.
  • Legs pinkish.

Immature Description

Juvenal plumage: Light grayish brown head and body, back, tail, and wings. Flight feathers on wing same color as back. Bill black. Legs dark gray with pink overtones. Eyes dark brown to black.
First Winter (Basic I): Like juvenal, but head, throat, and breast lighter and more streaked. Bill black. Eyes dark brown.
First Summer (Alternate I): Head, neck, and especially the throat whiter, but still streaked. Wing feathers worn and paler. Mix of clean gray and mottled feathers on back. Bill black. Eyes dark brown.
Second Winter (Basic II): Head whiter, but neck heavily streaked. Back mottled brownish and light gray. Underparts white. Wing tips light gray, like back. Tail gray. Bill pale flesh at base, then black. Eyes dark brown. Legs dirty pink.
Second Summer (Alternate II): Head and neck largely white with conspicuous streaking. Back may be entirely light gray with a few brownish feathers. Underparts mostly white. Bill yellowish at base, then black with white tip. Eyes dark brown.
Third Winter (Basic III): Some dirty brown on otherwise white neck and head. Back light gray with only a few dull brownish feathers. Underparts white. Tail largely white with some dark smudging. Outer wing feathers (primaries) darker gray with white tips. Inner wing feathers (secondaries) light gray with broad white tips. Bill yellowish at base, then black with white tip. Eyes brown. Legs dirty pink.
Third Summer (Alternate III): Head and neck pure white or with only little streaking. Back all gray. Underparts white. Tail white with some dark smudging. Bill yellow with some red on lower mandible. Eyes brown.

Range Map Help

Glaucous-winged Gull Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

  • Adult breeding

    Glaucous-winged Gull

    Adult breeding
    • © Helen Cruickshank/CLO
  • Adult nonbreeding

    Glaucous-winged Gull

    Adult nonbreeding
    • © Kevin T. Karlson
  • First winter

    Glaucous-winged Gull

    First winter
    • © Kevin T. Karlson
  • Juvenile

    Glaucous-winged Gull

    Juvenile
    • © Stan Smith/CLO

Similar Species

  • Western Gull much darker gray on back with black wingtips. Glaucous-winged and Western gulls hybridize, and intermediates are common.
  • Glaucous Gull has pure white wingtips in all plumages.

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