Sabine's Gull

Xema sabini




Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive buff with olive brown spots

Number of Eggs:

1 - 3

Incubation Days:

23 - 26

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses.





Sabine's Gull: Small gull with gray back and white nape, rump, and underparts. Hood is solid black and eye-ring is dark red. Bill is black with yellow tip; legs and feet are black. Upperwings are gray with black primaries and white secondaries. Tail is slightly forked when folded. Sexes are similar. Winter adult has mostly white head with dark gray nape patch. Juvenile resembles winter adult but has brown nape, back and upperwings, black terminal tail band, dark bill, black bill, and yellow legs and feet. 1st winter begins to show gray on back and wings; 1st summer resembles winter adult but has gray nape.

Range and Habitat

Sabine's Gull: Breeds on coastal wet tundra in the arctic, including northern and western Alaska, arctic Canada, northern Greenland, Spitzbergen, and across northern Siberia. Outside breeding season, it is essentially pelagic, found in the eastern Pacific between southern Baja California and central Chile; concentrates in the tropics in the Atlantic.

Breeding and Nesting

Sabine's Gull: One to three olive buff eggs with olive brown spots are laid in a grass-lined ground scrape. Incubation ranges from 23 to 26 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Sabine's Gull: Diet includes fish and marine invertebrates. Forages like wading birds, picking prey items from edges of pools, swimming in circles to stir up prey like phalaropes, or running over mud flats to scoop up stranded fish.


Sabine's Gull: High-pitched, chattering "vihihihi" or "hrier-hrier", also a short, sharp "tsett."

Similar Species

Sabine's Gull: Bonaparte's Gull has black bill, black hood, orange legs and feet, and a squared tail.


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

Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Flight feathers that are attached to the wing in the area similar to the human forearm and between the body and the primaries.
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