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Glaucous Gull Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    A stocky gull with a deep chest, a heavy bill, and a large head that makes the eye appear small. This can give the impression of a “snowman” of a bird compared to other large gulls.

    Relative Size

    Larger than a Herring Gull, slightly smaller than a Great Black-backed Gull.

    Relative Sizebetween crow and goosebetween crow and goose

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 26.8 in (68 cm)
      • Weight: 44.1-95.2 oz (1250-2700 g)
      • Wingspan: 58.7-71.7 in (149-182 cm)

Regional Differences

Ornithologists recognize four subspecies that vary in size and in darkness of the upperparts. In North America, leuceretes nests in northern Canada east to Iceland and is the subspecies most regularly found in the eastern United States. It is slightly paler above than the smaller subspecies barrovianus, which nests in Alaska and winters on the Pacific coast. In most of Eurasia, the slightly darker hyperboreus is the nesting and wintering subspecies. The larger, very pale pallidissimus nests from Siberia eastward to Alaska’s St. Matthew Island and Walrus Island.