Herring Gull

Larus argentatus

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4

HERG

Code 6

LARARG

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Herring Gull has a large range, estimated globally at 10,000,000 square kilometers. Native to the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, this bird prefers wetland and marine ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 2,600,000 to 3,000,000 individuals and does not show signs of decline that would necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Herring Gull is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Herring Gull: This large gull has a pale gray back, black-tipped wings, a white head, neck, breast, tail and underparts. The bill is yellow with a red spot near the tip; legs are pink. Diet includes marine invertebrates, fish and insects. It has a strong steady flight with deep wing beats and soars on thermals and updrafts. The males are larger than females; the sexes have similar plumage.


Range and Habitat

Herring Gull: Breeds from Alaska east across northern Canada to Maritime Provinces, south to British Columbia, north-central Canada, and Great Lakes, and along Atlantic coast to North Carolina. Winters in all but its northernmost breeding areas and from southern Alaska to Baja California. Nests on open beaches, islands, or shorelines; stays on lakes, wetlands, rivers, and landfills.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"kuk-kuk-kuk", "yucca-yucca-yucca"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • Herring Gull flocks have a loose pecking order, based on size, aggressiveness, and physical strength.
  • Communication between these birds is complex and highly-developed, employing both calls and body language.
  • Two identical vocalizations can have very different meanings, depending on the positionings of the head, body, wings and tail relative to each other and the ground in the calling gull.
  • A group of gulls has many collective nouns, including a "flotilla", "gullery", "screech", "scavenging", and "squabble" of gulls.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Herring Gull

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.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
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