Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)


French: Goéland à ailes grises German: Beringmöwe Spanish: Gaviota de Bering

Larus glaucescens

J. F. Naumann

, 1840,

North America


Closely linked with L. hyperboreus and L. smithsonianus, and hybridizes with both of these and also with L. schistisagus#R. Hybridizes freely with L. occidentalis#R from S British Columbia to Oregon, and some authors treat the two as conspecific. Monotypic.


Kamchatka and Commander Is E through Aleutians, Pribilofs and S Bering Sea to S Alaska, then SE to N Oregon (NW USA). Winters from Bering Sea to N Japan and NW Mexico (Baja California).

Descriptive notes

61–68 cm; 900–1250 g; wingspan 132–137 cm. Four-year gull. A large bulky gull with short, broad wings; small, dark beady eyes placed high on the head... read more


The long call is a loud series of evenly spaced "haaaw" notes, slower and lower-pitched than in the... read more


Frequents coastal areas and shelf waters and often attracted to harbours and fishing ports.... read more

Food and feeding

Highly opportunistic. The principal foods taken include fish, various marine invertebrates (e.g. mussels, barnacles, crabs, starfish,... read more


Arrives back at colonies in February–March but breeding is much later. It lays from early May in Washington to early June in Alaska.... read more


Some birds remain on territory all winter but many move southwards. Some wander south of the Bering... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). The total population is probably c. 250,000–300,000 pairs. A 2002 estimate puts the population at a minimum of 570,000... read more

Recommended citation

Burger, J., Gochfeld, M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2018). Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 December 2018).