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Mew Gull Life History


Habitat ShorelinesBreeds in tundra, marshy areas, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, islands, and coastal cliffs. Winters in nearshore waters and coasts, river estuaries, beaches, mudflats, harbors, and sewage outfalls and treatment ponds.Back to top


Food OmnivoreFish, insects, earthworms, grain, garbage, marine invertebrates.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Shallow cup of vegetation, made of dry grass, twigs, moss, lichens, small roots, or bark, frequently with a stone centrally placed. Placed in tree or on ground.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:1-5 eggs
Egg Description:Light olive with variable amount of dark brown speckles.
Condition at Hatching:Chicks semiprecocial at hatching; may leave nest cup in several days. Covered in cryptically colored down.
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Behavior Ground ForagerFlutters over water, head down, and legs dangling to pick up bits of food from water surface. Sometimes paddles against current, picking up food as it floats past. Occasionally dives into water for fish.Back to top


Conservation Low ConcernMew Gull is not threatened in any part of its range. The North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimated a continental population of 160,000-240,000 birds. The species rates a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Mew Gull is not on the 2016 State of North America's Birds Watch List. 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. (2019). Longevity records of North American birds. Version 1019 Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2019.

Moskoff, William and Louis R. Bevier. (2002). Mew Gull (Larus canus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

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

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