Mew Gull (Larus canus)

Also known as the short-billed gull or the common gull, the mew gull's common name is derived from its call, which resembles a low mewing.


At only 40 cm in length, the mew gull is one of the smallest members of this family. Large white patches on the black wing tips helps to identify it, while the rest of the wings and back are grey, and the head and tail white. As its yellow bill is short - this bird is sometimes also referred to as the short-billed gull.


During the nesting season, the mew gull occurs along the Alaskan coast to southern British Columbia. It occurs as far south as central California in the winter. It is also found in the boreal forests of Eurasia.


Sometimes this bird is seen nesting in solitary pairs, rather than in colonies. Three eggs are usually laid, on the ground in nests near lakes or on marshy islands. Incubation by both parents lasts about 25 days and the young remain in the nest for up to 32 days.

During migration and over the winter, it spends its time in harbours, bays, beaches, and, of course, garbage dumps!

The diet of the mew gull is similar to that of most other gull species, consisting of small fish, invertebrates and refuse, but its preferred food is herring. Although it feeds over water, this gull sometimes follows plows in the spring, looking for small terrestrial invertebrates.