GLAUCOUS GULL

 

GLAUCOUS GULL(Larus hyperboreus)
DESCRIPTION: The Glaucous Gull has a light grey back and wings. The head, neck, tail and under parts are white in breeding adults. The bill is yellow with a red spot near the tip of the lower mandible. The eyes are yellow, and the legs and feet are pink. Non-breeding adults have beige streaks on the head and neck. Juveniles are mottled beige on white and have dark eyes. Their bill is pink with a black tip. For the first winter, glaucous gulls are similar to juveniles but with more white in the plumage. Both sexes are similar. This is a large gull at some 70 cm ((28 inches) long.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Larus-hyperboreus – this bird’s call is similar to that of the Herring Gull.
NAME: The English name ‘Glaucous’ is a color – blue-grey or green. The English name ‘Gull’ would have its origins in Old Celtic ‘Gullan’ and other languages, including Latin ‘gula’ for throat. As per Choate this would be related to the gull’s ‘indiscriminate’ scavenging habits, its ‘willingness to swallow almost anything’ (think ‘gullible’). The Latin genus name ‘Larus’ stands for a gull, and the Latin species name ‘hyperboreus’ refers to the North.
HABITAT: Tundra in the summer. In the winter: garbage dumps, farm fields, even urban areas.
DIET: Omnivorous, i.e. whatever food or prey is available, such as fish, carrion, insects, small mammals and seeds. This gull also actively preys on unattended eggs and chicks in seabird colonies. It will also steal food from other birds.
NESTING: The glaucous gull builds a nest on the ground near the coast, or on cliffs or slopes. It will nest either alone or in small colonies. Usually three green eggs are laid, which are incubated by both parents. The chicks are also fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: This species of gull breeds in the high Arctic around the globe, and for the winter it migrates along the coasts of North America, Europe and Asia. Some individuals have reached Hawaii.
ON PEI: The glaucous gull does not breed on Prince Edward Island. However its presence has been observed for all seasons on the island, varying from ‘accidental’ to ‘uncommon’.
CONSERVATION: The glaucous gull is widespread and common, and its breeding population is located away from human disturbance. It is not considered at risk.
SIMILAR SPECIES: The Glaucous Gull is almost as large as the Great Black-backed Gull. The glaucous gull will hybridize with the Herring Gull.
REFERENCES: https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/glaucous-gull
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glaucous_gull
Glaucous Gull (.pdf document, Alaska Fish and Wildlife Service)
http://www.npolar.no/en/species/glaucous-gull.html (Norwegian Polar Institute)
https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Glaucous_Gull/id
http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/glaucous_gullhttps://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/glaucous-gull

Glaucous gull breeding adult - Spitzbergen, Norway - July 19, 2004 - Alastair Rae
Glaucous gull breeding adult – Spitzbergen, Norway – July 19, 2004 – Alastair Rae
Glaucous gull immature - Sparks Marina, Nev. - Dec. 31, 2008 - Seabamirum
Glaucous gull immature – Sparks Marina, Nev. – Dec. 31, 2008 – Seabamirum
Glaucous gull, breeding adult - Alaska National Wildlife Refuge - Aug. 1, 1987 - USFWS, Art Sowls
Glaucous gull, breeding adult – Alaska National Wildlife Refuge – Aug. 1, 1987 – USFWS, Art Sowls
 

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