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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.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
19.7–23.2 in
50–59 cm
47.2–56.3 in
120–143 cm
31.7–42.3 oz
900–1200 g
Other Names
  • Goéland à ailes grises (French)
  • Gaviota de alas glaucas (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Glaucous-winged Gull takes a variety of food, including live animals in addition to carrion and garbage. It has been known to kill and eat rabbits and pigeons, as well as Glaucous-winged Gull chicks. Older birds are more efficient at finding food than younger birds.
  • The Glaucous-winged Gull hybridizes extensively with the Western Gull, with the hybrids being the most common form in Washington. The hybrids can be similar to the parent adult forms, but usually have intermediate back and wingtip coloring. With the medium-gray back, dark upper surface to wingtips, frosty white undersurface to wingtips, and a darkish eye, a hybrid may closely resemble a robust Thayer's Gull. The flatter and larger head of the hybrid, and especially the thick bill with a pronounced angle on the bottom, should help distinguish it from the smaller, slimmer Thayer's Gull.
  • The Glaucous-winged Gull nests on roofs of buildings in some areas. They prefer to nest on flat roofs, but will nest on peaked roofs in flat areas near chimneys or other structures.
  • The oldest recorded Glaucous-winged Gull was at least 23 years, 10 months old when it was killed. It was banded in British Columbia in 1977, and found in Washington in 2001.



Breeds 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.



Marine invertebrates and fishes. Eggs and chicks of seabirds. Scavenges carrion and refuse.


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.
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.

Nest Placement



Ground Forager

Captures food near surface of water or on shore. Steals food from cormorants and other gulls. Swallows large prey whole. Common at garbage dumps.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Glaucous-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.


Range Map Help

Glaucous-winged Gull Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

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A Second Look at “Seagulls”: Tips for ID, BirdScope, Summer 2010.

A Noble Vision of Gulls, Living Bird, Summer 2016.



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