Living Bird Magazine
Mew GullLarus canus
- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Laridae
One of the smallest of the "white-headed" gulls, the Mew Gull is common along Pacific Coast beaches in winter. It also occurs in Eurasia, where it is known at the "Common Gull."More ID Info
- Gaviota Cana (Spanish)
- Goéland cendré (French)
- Cool Facts
- 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 British Columbia in 2007. It had been banded in Alaska in 1986.