Western Gull

Larus occidentalis




Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Buff to olive gray with dark brown blotches.

Number of Eggs:

1 - 6

Incubation Days:

25 - 32

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Moss, weeds, grass.





Western Gull: Large gull; gray upperparts and white head, neck, tail and underparts. Eyes are yellow. Bill is bright yellow with red spot near tip; pale pink legs and feet. Upper wings are gray, white-edged and have white-spotted black tips. Sexes are similar. Winter adult has faint brown streaks on lower nape. Juvenile is brown with darker brown wings and tail; pale, finely barred rump and black bill. First winter resembles juvenile but begins to show pale base on lower mandible; first summer is paler.

Range and Habitat

Western Gull: This species breeds exclusively on Pacific coast of North America from extreme southern Washington south along Baja California. During winter, this bird regularly occurs north to British Columbia. Its preferred habitats include coastal waterways, beaches, harbors, dumps, and open ocean.

Breeding and Nesting

Western Gull: Lays one to six buff to olive gray eggs with dark brown blotches in a grass- or seaweed-lined depression, slightly protected by broken terrain. Usually nest in colonies on rocky headlands, islands, or dikes. Incubation ranges from 25 to 32 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Western Gull: These gulls are opportunistic scavengers on fish, carrion and human refuse. Their diet includes fish, clams, crabs, seabird eggs and young birds. They forage along rocky shores, primarily in low intertidal and shallow sub-tidal zones. At sea, they congregate where prey concentrate. They are generalist predators on both pelagic and intertidal marine invertebrates and fish.


Western Gull: Emits squeals and raucous notes.

Similar Species

Western Gull: Yellow-footed Gull is slightly larger, has yellow legs and feet, and has a paler back.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X