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35-40 cm. Red legs, curved yellow bill. All-white head, white underparts, white tail, grey back and wings with black tips. During the non-breeding season, there is black smudge on each side of the head, behind the eyes. Juveniles show these black facial marks, and a grey-black collar along the back of the head.
Both sexes build a shallow cup nest of mud, grass and kelp. 1-2 eggs are laid and incubated by both parents who also both care for the young.
The diet includes small fish (especially lampfish and Pollock), squid, and marine zooplankton.
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