• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer

Glaucous-winged Gull


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.


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
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Breeding adults

    Glaucous-winged Gull

    Breeding adults
    • © Mike Wisnicki, Howe Sound, British Columbia, Canada, April 2011
  • Breeding adult

    Glaucous-winged Gull

    Breeding adult
  • Western x Glaucous-winged Hybrid- Nonbreeding adult

    Glaucous-winged Gull

    Western x Glaucous-winged Hybrid- Nonbreeding adult
    • Wingtips too black for pure Glaucous-winged Gull
    • © Nick Dean, Mukilteo, Washington, January 2013
  • Third winter

    Glaucous-winged Gull

    Third winter
    • © Nick Dean, Mukilteo, Washington, January 2013
  • First winter

    Glaucous-winged Gull

    First winter
    • © Nick Dean, Mukilteo, Washington, January 2014

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.

    You Might Also Like

    Tips for Identifying Some Common Gulls: Story and photos in BirdScope.



    Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
    bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

    The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell or give your email address to others.