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Glaucous Gull

Silhouette GullsGulls
Glaucous GullLarus hyperboreus
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Laridae

Basic Description

An imposing pale gull of the arctic, Glaucous Gulls are the second biggest gull in the world. Breeding adults are pale pearly gray and snow white, with all-white wingtips. Many adults remain in the arctic year-round, where they eat virtually anything, from lemmings to seabirds to starfish, as well as fruit, insects, carrion, and trash. They often nest near colonies of other birds, where they hunt chicks and eat eggs. Pairs form strong bonds that endure for many years, unlike in some gull species.

More ID Info
image of range map for Glaucous Gull
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Glaucous Gulls stand out in all plumages because of their large size and pale wingtips. They’re numerous in the far north, but finding one in the Lower 48 takes careful attention. They’re scarce in the southern United States, and uncommon but fairly regular in New England and the Pacific Northwest. Individuals that do wander southward tend to be immatures—find them by patient scanning of flocks of gulls, and study the largest and palest individuals.

Other Names

  • Gavión Hiperbóreo (Spanish)
  • Goéland bourgmestre (French)
  • Cool Facts