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Glaucous Gull

Larus hyperboreus

Length: 29 inches Wingspan: 60 inches Seasonality: Migrant / Winter
ID Keys: Large size, very pale gray back, nearly white elsewhere, pink legs, red spot on bill

Glaucous Gull - Larus hyperboreusThe Glaucous Gull is a large, very pale gull of the high Arctic.  It is the only large gull commonly found in the far north.  Small numbers, often juveniles, move well south in the winter. 

Habitat: Primarily a coastal bird.  Occasionally found inland around large fresh water bodies.

Diet: Omnivorous. Often each large numbers of eggs and young birds during breeding season.  Also eats large amounts of fish, mollusks and crustaceans.  Other items include small mammals, insects, seaweed, berries, carrion, and refuse. 

Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota

Song: Typically silent.

Migration: Summers in the high Arctic.  In winter, some birds move south along the Canadian and U.S. Coasts, around the Great Lakes, and occasionally elsewhere.  Some birds do stay in the extreme north in winter, as long as open water is available.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Glaucous Gull sightings

Similar Species: Iceland Gull, Glaucous-Winged Gull.  See Identification Tips.

Conservation Status: The Glaucous Gull's normal range makes it not vulnerable to human activities, and populations are stable.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Glaucous Gull

2) BirdWeb - Glaucous Gull

3) Audubon Guide - Glaucous Gull

Photo Information: April 6th, 2002 - Stilling Basin below Oahe Dam - Terry L. Sohl


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Glaucous Gull - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Uncommon winter visitor and migrant, most commonly sighted along the Missouri River and its reservoirs.

Additional Glaucous Gull Photos (coming soon!)