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Glaucous-winged Gull

Silhouette GullsGulls
Glaucous-winged GullLarus glaucescens
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Laridae

Basic Description

The Glaucous-winged Gull is a large, pale gull of Pacific shorelines. It’s relatively easy to pick out from other gulls—most species have black wingtips, but adult Glaucous-winged Gulls have pearly gray wingtips that match the color of the rest of the back and upperwing. The only catch is that they often hybridize with Western, Glaucous, and Herring Gulls, complicating identification. These familiar birds of the Pacific Northwest coastlines forage on fish, tidepool inhabitants, and other foods along rocky shorelines, scavenge at landfills, and follow fishing vessels offshore.

More ID Info
image of range map for Glaucous-winged GullRange map provided by Birds of the WorldExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Glaucous-winged Gulls are common year-round on coastlines from Alaska to Washington. Farther south, look for them during winter. They stay close to shorelines and rarely appear inland except at landfills. One way to find them is to look carefully through a mixed flock of gulls resting on the beach. At all ages, Glaucous-winged is distinguishable by the color match between its wingtips and upperparts. However, you’ll need some caution and close examination to completely rule out hybrid gulls, which can look very similar.

Other Names

  • Gaviota de Bering (Spanish)
  • Goéland à ailes grises (French)
  • Cool Facts

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