Glaucous-Winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)

In areas where this gull lives with other species of gulls, breeding sometimes occurs between two species, resulting in hybrids that possess some characteristics of each.

Description:

At over half a metre in length, this large, pink-footed gull has a pure white underside, head and tail. The bright white contrasts with its grey-backed wings and grey back. Its beak is bright yellow with a distinctive red patch at the tip of the lower jaw. Young chicks start out entirely brown, with black bills, and do not reach full adult plumage until the end of their third year.

Distribution:

In North America, the glaucous-winged gull is found along the entire Pacific coastline, with its range restricted from southern British Columbia to the Alaskan Aleutian Islands during breeding season. Its migration route follows that of whales or fishing boats, both of which bring fish and small crustaceans to the surface.

Ecology:

Large groups of these birds nest on low, rocky islands near the coast. Two to three eggs are laid in nests made of big piles of seaweed or grass, and incubated for up to 28 days. The young leave the nest anywhere from 35 - 54 days after hatching.

These opportunistic feeders consume a broad range of invertebrates, fish, and even washed up seal, whale, or fish carcasses. They also commonly visit landfills and scavenge on beaches.