BIRD OF THE WEEK / WEEK 27: July 2, 2018

 

© Liron Gertsman

Bird

Glaucous-winged Gull

Species Name

Larus glaucescens

Appearance

50-70 cm length | 120-150 cm wingspan | 750-1700 gm weight

A large gull with long wings; a large, slightly hooked bill; a flattened forehead; and webbed feet.

Mature adults are white allover with grey wings. They have a yellow bill with a red spot on the lower mandible; pink legs and feet; and dark eyes with a thin, pink, fleshy eyering. In non-breeding plumage they gain some grey-brown mottling on their heads and the red spot on the bill darkens. Immature birds are grey-brown with black bills and take up to four years to achieve adult plumage. They frequently cross-breed with the western gull and the herring gull. In both cases, the hybrid most closely resembles that of the Thayer’s gull, causing difficulties in identification.

Habitat / Behaviour

Carnivore | Coast, wetlands | Lives 15-37 years

They are flexible in habitat but rarely live far from saltwater.

They scavenge for a variety of living or dead animal matter including fish, molluscs, small mammals and human food waste.

Breeding

Monogamous | Nests on cliffs or ground | 2-3 colour eggs

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