Iceland Gull

Larus glaucoides




Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Buff to olive with dark brown blotches

Number of Eggs:

2 - 3

Incubation Days:

23 - 27

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On cliff ledge.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses and moss.





Iceland Gull: Large, white gull with pale, pearl-gray back and upper wings. Bill is yellow with red spot at tip of lower mandible. Wing tips are sometimes marked with pale to dark gray. Tail is white; legs and feet are pink. Sexes are similar. Winter adult is white with pale gray or brown markings on head, neck, breast, and tail. Juvenile is barred pale gray and brown overall with a grayer head and black bill; some juveniles are nearly white, showing only faint gray-brown barring on back and upperwings. 1st summer is mostly white with variable pale brown wash, usually on upperparts; bill is pale with a dark tip. 2nd winter resembles 1st summer but begins to show pale gray on back and wings. 3rd winter resembles winter adult but has a yellow-green bill with black spot near tip. Thayer's Gull, formerly its own species is now a subspecies of the Iceland Gull.

Range and Habitat

Iceland Gull: Breeds in southern Greenland, southern Baffin Island, northwestern Quebec, and on islands in northern Hudson Bay. Spends winters in Europe, Iceland, and eastern North America. Nests on rocky coasts, on tall cliffs; prefers coastal habitats in harbors, large reservoirs, and nearby landfills.

Breeding and Nesting

Iceland Gull: Two or three buff to olive eggs with dark brown blotches are laid in a nest lined with grass, moss, and seaweed, and built on a cliff or sandy shore. Incubation ranges from 23 to 27 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Iceland Gull: Eats small fish, crustaceans, berries, mollusks, carrion, refuse, seeds, and eggs and young of other birds. Catches fish by plunging into water while flying. Also finds food while wading or walking on shore.


Iceland Gull: Call is a "kyow-yow-yow."

Similar Species

Iceland Gull: Very similar to Herring, Glaucous, and west coast hybrid gulls. Feather overlaps can make definitive ID very difficult.

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