Glaucous Gull

Larus hyperboreus




Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Light brown or olive buff with dark brown blotches.

Number of Eggs:

2 - 3

Incubation Days:

27 - 28

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground on cliff ledge.

Nest Material:

Lined with seaweed, moss, feathers, and debris.





Glaucous Gull: Large white gull with pale gray back and upperwings. Eyes are yellow with red orbital ring. Bill is long, thick and yellow with red spot on lower mandible. Broad, bluntly pointed wings are white-edged and white tipped. Legs and feet are pink. Sexes are similar. Male is larger. Winter adult has brown wash on head, neck and upper breast. Juvenile has pale brown underparts and white upperparts with pale brown scaling; wing tips white to pale tan; first-winter mottled gray-buff; bill pink with black tip.

Range and Habitat

Glaucous Gull: Breeds in Alaska and along coastal regions of northern Canada. Spends winters along the coast south to California (rarely) and North Carolina; rarely found in the Great Lakes and the Gulf coast. Preferred habitats include shores of lakes, rivers, and coast, as well as refuse dumps and sewage outflows.

Breeding and Nesting

Glaucous Gull: These gulls usually nest close to seabird colonies, often on an elevated point at the top of the cliff or on a small pinnacle in the cliff wall. The nest is built by both parents. Two to three light brown or olive eggs with dark brown blotches are laid in a nest lined with moss, grass and seaweed. Incubation ranges from 27 to 28 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Glaucous Gull: These gulls are generalist predators, feeding on both pelagic and intertidal marine invertebrates and fish, the eggs and chicks of waterfowl and seabird species, passerines, small mammals and vegetation. They are opportunistic scavengers on fish, carrion and human refuse. They forage by wading, plunge diving and stealing food from other seabirds.


Glaucous Gull: Usually silent, but while flying sometimes makes a prattling-like quack; also has various shrieking cries.

Similar Species

Glaucous Gull: Glaucous-winged Gull is smaller, has gray marks on primaries, and a slight red ring around dark eyes. Iceland Gull is smaller and has pale gray primaries with translucent white tips.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
Lower mandibleX
The lower part of the bill.
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