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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M., W. & F. von Wright: Pohjolan linnut värikuvin. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Glaucous Gull

Larus hyperboreus

  • Family: Gulls – Laridae
  • Appearance: Larger than the Herring Gull, and much whiter overall. Young birds are sandy coloured with pale wing feathers (no black markings).
  • Size: Length 63–68 cm (25–27 in), wingspan 138–158 cm (54–62 in), weight 1–1.8 kg (2.2–4.2 lb).
  • Nest: A low nest made of marine plants on rocky ground or in a cliff-side cavity etc.
  • Breeding: 2–3 eggs laid from mid May, incubated for 26–30 days. Young birds able to fly within about 49 days.
  • Distribution: Occasional winter visitor Dec–March, especially seen around harbours and landfills. Nests along the coasts of the Arctic Ocean from the Kanin Peninsula eastwards, also in Svalbard and Greenland.
  • Migration: Some birds winter in the Baltic, arriving Oct–Dec, and leaving by May at the latest.
  • Diet: Omnivorous, feeding largely on fish, eggs and young birds; in winter scavenges for carrion and food scraps.
  • Calls: Loud shrieks resembling the calls of Great Black-backed Gulls.

Glaucous Gulls are as large as Great Black-backed Gulls, but their plumage is uniformly pale. Back and wings a paler blue-grey than on Herring Gulls with pale wingtips. Juveniles are uniformly sandy brown 2-3-year-old birds are almost completely white.

Glaucous Gulls are most easily confused with the similar but somewhat smaller Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides), but their heads are flatter and the backs of their heads are less rounded. Glaucous Gulls’ legs are pinkish on older birds and greyish violet on young birds. Adults have yellow beaks with a red spot on the lower bill, and pale yellow irises. Juveniles have black-tipped pinkish beaks and brown irises. All birds have yellow eye-rings.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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