Glaucous Gull Life History


Habitat ShorelinesBreeds 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.Back to top


Food OmnivoreMarine invertebrates, fish, eggs and chicks of waterfowl and seabird species, small birds, small mammals, and vegetation. Scavenges fish, carrion, and human refuse.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Cliff

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.

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.
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Behavior Ground ForagerCaptures food near surface of water or on shore. Steals food from other gulls. Swallows large prey whole.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernGlaucous 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. Back to top


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.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

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

Weiser, Emily and H. Grant Gilchrist. (2012). Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

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