Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
A sturdy robust gull; about the size of the Herring Gull or a bit larger and stockier looking.
In winter, it's head is smudged with gray-brown. This is much less mottled looking than in other gulls, often appearing as if it were smeared on sometimes in thin lines. The bill becomes a pale straw color like the Herring Gulls but unlike the Western Gulls which remains bright yellow year round. There is often a thin zig-zag band near the end of the bill at this time as well. In flight, Glaucous-Winged looks very much like a Glaucous Gull with it's pale plumage, powerful flight and often translucent wing tips from below.
First winter birds are rather uniformly gray with fine mottling over most of the plumage. Some take on a pale buff color and can often resemble the other white-winged gulls. Glaucous-Winged however usually has a cold gray undertone even on buff colored birds. The bill is usually all black but a few can show a pinkish base.
Second winter birds resemble first winter most of the time but often show a pale gray saddle. Many are often very pale buff and superficially resemble Iceland Gull. Often by late spring they may develop distinctive dark patches on the scapulars. The bill usually has a pinkish base, fading to black near the tip.
Third winter birds are much like adults but the bill is often bi-colored or even tri-colored; having a broad black band near the tip and being mostly pinkish. Sometimes the yellow of adulthood begins to show as well. There is still some buff coloring, mainly on the underparts and wing coverts and around the head and neck.
In all plumages pure Glaucous-Winged Gull is uniformly pale without showing any contrasting dark or light areas.
This is a monotypic species.
 External Links