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Merlin Bird ID

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    Herring Gull

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    Herring Gull

    Larus argentatus
    • ORDER: Charadriiformes
    • FAMILY: Laridae
    Basic Description

    Spiraling above a fishing boat or squabbling at a dock or parking lot, Herring Gulls are the quintessential gray-and-white, pink-legged "seagulls." They're the most familiar gulls of the North Atlantic and can be found across much of coastal North America in winter. A variety of plumages worn in their first four years can make identification tricky—so begin by learning to recognize their beefy size and shape.

    More ID Info
    image of range map for Herring GullRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

    Find This Bird

    Look for Herring Gulls soaring along coastal shorelines, feeding on beaches, or squabbling at refuse dumps. Almost any large open space near water can become a winter hangout. Except along the north Atlantic Coast, the Great Lakes, and southern Alaskan coast, expect to see only nonbreeding adults and a motley array of immature gulls. These may be hard to recognize at first until you learn their beefy profiles. Once you know this fairly common species, they can help you identify other gull species.

    Other Names
    • Gaviota Plateada (Spanish)
    • Goéland argenté (French)
    • Cool Facts