The Thayer's Gull was once
considered a slightly smaller sub-species of the Herring
Gull, and is very similar. Its status is still in question, with some
still considering a race of Herring Gull, and others calling it and the
Gull different races of the same species. Thayer's Gulls are typically
darker on the wingtips than Iceland Gulls, while Iceland Gulls may have very
little darker feathering in the wingtips. The "Kumlien's Gull" is
considered to be a hybrid of Thayer's and Iceland Gulls, and some consider
them all one species, ranging from the darker Thayer's in the west to the
lighter Iceland in the east. Thayer's Gulls also readily interbreed
with multiple other species on the West Coast, including Glaucous-winged and
Western Gulls, making identification of Thayer's Gulls and hybrid gulls even
Habitat: Summer habitat is rocky island
coasts in the Arctic. Winters primarily along coastal areas, including
areas well offshore. Will forage inland from the coast, but rarely found well
Diet: Wide variety of items,
including fish, squid, crustaceans, eggs and young birds, berries, carrion, and
Behavior: Uses a variety of foraging techniques,
from dipping from the water's surface while in flight to grabbing food items
while swimming or walking on land. They will also forage at landfills
and refuse piles.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Song: Familiar gull's kee-yow
Migration: Summers in high Arctic. Most winter along the Pacific Coast. Rarely
Conservation Status: Nesting range is far from most direct
human impact. No noticeable trends in populations.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Thayer's Gull"
Photo Information: December 18th, 2008 - San
Francisco, California - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Thayer's Gull photos.