- 16.1–18.1 in
- 42.1–44.9 in
- 12.7–21.2 oz
- Common Gull (British), Short-billed Gull
- Goéland cendré (French)
- Gaviota cana (Spanish)
- The Mew Gull has an extensive breeding range, with three distinct forms that are sometimes considered different species. The European form, known as the "Common Gull" has less white in the wingtips than the American form, or "Short-billed Gull," and its first-year plumage is much paler. The eastern Asian form known as "Kamchatka Gull" is larger, with a larger bill, and pale yellow eyes.
- Although the Mew Gull is a common bird along the Pacific Coast, it is a rarity in the East. Birds that appear along the Atlantic Coast are likely to be from Europe.
- The Mew Gull is the only "white-headed" gull that regularly uses trees for nesting.
- The European form of the Mew Gull, the "Common Gull," closely resembles the American form in adult plumage, but the two forms differ more in juvenile and first winter plumages. The American form is all dirty gray, with a mostly dark brown tail and dusky wings. The European form is much more black and white, with a paler head and underparts, a white rump and upper tail, a black band on the tip of the tail, blackish wingtips, and a dark line along the back of the wing (the secondaries).
- The oldest recorded mew Gull was at least 20 years, 8 months old when it was found in 1986 in Alaska. It had been banded in British Columbia in 2007.
Breeds 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.
Fish, insects, earthworms, grain, garbage, marine invertebrates.
- 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.
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.
Flutters 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.
Mew 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 and rates the species a 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Mew Gull is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List.
- Moskoff, W., and L. R. Bevier. 2002. Mew Gull (Larus canus). In The Birds of North America, No. 687 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
- Kushlan, J.A., et al. 2002. Waterbird conservation for the Americas: the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan, version 1. Waterbird Conservation for the Americas. Washington, DC.
- North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2015. Longevity records of North American Birds.