Glaucous-winged Gull Life History


Habitat ShorelinesBreeds on rocky islands and coastal cliffs, sometimes on flat roofs of buildings. Forages at sea, in intertidal areas, along beaches, and at dumps. Roosts in fields, dumps, and parking lots.Back to top


Food OmnivoreMarine invertebrates and fishes. Eggs and chicks of seabirds. Scavenges carrion and refuse.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Cliff

Nest Description

Nest is a scrape in the ground filled with grass, weeds, moss, roots, dead twigs, string, bones, turf, and seaweed. Nests in colonies, often with other gull species.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:1-4 eggs
Egg Description:Light greenish marked with dark scrawls.
Condition at Hatching:Chicks semiprecocial at hatching; may leave nest cup at one day old. Covered in cryptically colored down.
Back to top


Behavior Ground ForagerCaptures food near surface of water or on shore. Steals food from cormorants and other gulls. Swallows large prey whole. Common at garbage dumps.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernGlaucous-winged Gull populations were stable, but may have experienced some declines between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a continental population of 380,000 breeding birds. The species rates an 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and is not listed on the 2016 State of North America's Birds' Watch List.Back to top


Hayward, James L. and N. A. Verbeek. 2008. Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA. 

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski, Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. Link (2017). The North American Breeding Bird Survey, Results and Analysis 1966–2015. Version 2.07.2017. USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

Back to top