Family Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Least Concern

Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)


French: Goéland d’Audubon German: Westmöwe Spanish: Gaviota occidental

Larus occidentalis


, 1839,

Cape Disappointment, Washington, USA


Interbreeds freely with L. glaucescens at N end of range#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. o. occidentalis Audubon, 1839 – NW Washington (Destruction I) to C California (Farallon Is).
  • L. o. wymani Dickey & Van Rossem, 1925 – C California (Monterey Bay) to C Baja California (Guadalupe I).
  • Non-breeding movements N to British Columbia and accidentally to peninsular Alaska, also S to tip of Baja California and occasionally to Sonora coast of Mexico#R.

    Descriptive notes

    54–66 cm; 800–1190 g; wingspan 132–142 cm. Four-year gull. Stout, heavy-billed and flat-crowned with short,broad-looking wings. The breeding adult is a... read more


    Has a typical accelerating long call similar to that of other large gulls but notes are described... read more


    Largely coastal, generally straying only a few kilometres inland, this notably in the San Francisco... read more

    Food and feeding

    Very varied. Marine fish and invertebrates An adult eating a crab; eggs, chicks and adults of seabirds; carrion; occasionally moves up... read more


    Lays late April to early May, later in the north of the range. Colonial, with inter-nest distances ranging from 1·75 m in... read more


    There are northward post-breeding movements to southwestern British Columbia, as far as Vancouver... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in most of its range. The current global population is not known precisely but is thought to be increasing. A 1995 estimate... read more

    Recommended citation

    Burger, J., Gochfeld, M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Western Gull (Larus occidentalis). 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 12 November 2019).