Ring-billed Gull is probably the most common gull found in the state.
Adapted well to living with humans, it can often be found sitting in parking
lots or scavenging at landfills. The yellow legs and overall size help
to distinguish the species from other similarly plumaged gulls found in the
state, as does the characteristic black ring around the bill seen in mature
birds (such as in the photo to the right).
Habitat: Usually found near lakes, marshes, and
large rivers, although they will feed in a wide variety of habitats, including
Diet: Omnivorous. Wide
variety depending on circumstances. Includes fish, insects, small mammals,
garbage, and grain. Can be seen in freshly plowed fields foraging for
earthworms and grubs.
Behavior: Very sociable birds, with large
groupings often seen in all seasons. Individual behavior often depends
upon local foraging conditions and prey.
Nesting: Mid-May through June. Ring-billed Gulls
are colonial nesters, sometimes mixing nesting colonies with other Gull species.
The nest itself is a shallow saucer of grasses, wetland vegetation, twigs, moss,
and other material, placed on the ground near the water's edge. The female
usually lays 2 to 4 eggs, and both parents help to incubate them. When the
eggs hatch, both parents help feed the young. The young learn to fly after
about 5 weeks, and leave the parents soon after.
Song: High-pitched repeated kiyak. Call is a sharp
Migration: Breeds in a scattered locations across
Canada and the northern half of the United States. In winter, found
primarily south of Canada and along the coastlines, with populations
possibly occurring wherever open water exists.
Status: Has been increasing in
number, thanks to its ability to live with humans. They are common in many
areas, and are found over a very wide geographic area.
The IUCN lists the
Ring-billed Gull as a species of "Least Concern".
Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Ring-billed Gull
eNature.com: Ring-billed Gull
Photo Information: July 18th, 2004 - Below Oahe
Dam near Pierre, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Ring-billed Gull photos.