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Glaucous Gull


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A huge gull of the frozen North, the Glaucous Gull breeds across most of the high Arctic. It winters farther north than most gulls, but it does turn up as far south as California and Virginia.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
26.8 in
68 cm
58.7–71.7 in
149–182 cm
44.1–95.2 oz
1250–2700 g
Other Names
  • Goéland bourgmestre (French)

Cool Facts

  • First- and second-year Glaucous Gulls appear to move farther southward than adults, and most individuals seen in the southern portion of the winter range are immatures.
  • The Glaucous Gull is an active predator at seabird nesting colonies. It will walk into colonies and take eggs and chicks left unprotected, and will fly above a foraging arctic fox or person disturbing the colony and take eggs and chicks that are exposed during the disturbance.
  • The oldest recorded Glaucous Gull was at least 9 years, 1 month old, when it was seen in Nunavut in 2003, and ID'd by its band.



Breeds along marine and freshwater coasts, tundra, offshore islands, cliffs, shorelines, ice edges. Rarely far inland. Winters along maritime coasts, freshwater lakes, agricultural fields, urban areas, and garbage dumps.



Marine invertebrates, fish, eggs and chicks of waterfowl and seabird species, small birds, small mammals, and vegetation. Scavenges fish, carrion, and human refuse.


Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1–3 eggs
Egg Description
Light gray-brown or olive with gray and dark brown spots.
Condition at Hatching
Alert and mobile, covered with dense, hairlike, gray-brown down.
Nest Description

Shallow depression in mound of grass, sedges, moss, twigs, and occasionally feathers. Little or no lining. Placed on islands, edges of ponds on open tundra, cliff ledges, grassy slopes above cliffs, rock scree at foot of cliffs.

Nest Placement




Captures food near surface of water or on shore. Steals food from other gulls. Swallows large prey whole.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Glaucous Gull populations appear stable. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates 169,200 breeding birds on the continent, and rates the species a 7 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Glaucous Gull is not listed on the 2014 State of the Birds Report.


Range Map Help

Glaucous Gull Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings


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