Ring-billed Gull

Larus delawarensis

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

RBGU

Code 6

LARDEL

ITIS

ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Ring-billed Gull breeds near lakes, rivers and the coastlines of Canada and the northern United States. Nests are built on the ground in colonies, and are typically used year after year. During the winter months, the Ring-billed Gull will migrate south to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America, as well as the Great Lakes. Some populations are also found in western Europe, Ireland and Great Britain. This species forages for food while flying or in the water, or steals food from other birds or scavenges. Diets typically consist of insects, fish, grain, eggs, earthworms and rodents. The conservation rating for this species is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Ring-billed Gull: This medium-sized gull has gray upperparts and white underparts. It has a white head and yellow bill with a black ring near the tip. The wings are gray above, tipped black with white spots, and white below; yellow legs and feet. It has a strong direct flight on deep wing beats and soars on thermals. The sexes are similar.

 

Range and Habitat

Ring-billed Gull: Breeds locally south to California, northern Great Plains, and southern prairie provinces of Canada, Great Lakes region, Canadian Maritimes, and northern New England. Spends winters on coasts, rivers, and lakes from southern New England south to Cuba, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast, and from British Columbia to southern Mexico.

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Ring-billed Gull SONGS AND CALLS

Ring-billed Gull C1

"Kyow-kyow-kyow" calls given in flight.

Ring-billed Gull C1

Calls from a roosting adult.

Similar Sounding


Voice Text

"Kree-kree", "kyow-kyow-kyow"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • In the late 19th century, this bird was hunted for its plumage. Its population has since rebounded and it is probably the most common gull in North America.
  • The Ring-billed Gull is sometimes called the "fast food gull" because it often hangs around fast food restaurants scavenging for food.
  • Young gulls tested at only two days of age showed a preference for magnetic bearings that would take them in the appropriate direction for their fall migration.
  • A group of gulls has many collective nouns, including a "flotilla", "gullery", "screech", "scavenging", and "squabble" of gulls.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP NORTH AMERICA

About this North America Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across North America.

RANGE MAP HAWAII

About this Hawaii Map

This map shows how this species is distributed across the Hawaiian island.

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X