ICELAND GULL – (Larus glaucoides)
The Iceland Gull has various plumages depending on the seasons. As adults they have no dark feathers at the tip of their wings, which are light grey, as well as their back and tail. The head and under parts are white. The bill is yellow with a tinge of green, and has a red spot on the lower mandible. Immatures and juveniles are mottled light grey and white, with a dark bill. The legs are pink for adults as well as juveniles. This gull species is around 60 cm (24 in.) long.
The Latin name ‘Larus’ refers to a gull, and ‘glaucoides’ means that it is ‘similar’ to the Glaucous Gull. And ‘glaucous’ refers to a blue-grey-green color. There are a few sub-species of this gull, with regional variations, and overlap between those subspecies.
The Iceland gull breeds in colonies on cliffs along the coast. Their diet is omnivorous, which can mean fish, eggs, mollucs, and feeding at garbage dumps. They can pluck fish from the water while flying. The species is not threatened.
Although the Iceland gull does not breed on PEI, it is common throughout the seasons on the island except in the summer, where it is rare, and for good reason. This gull species is then busy breeding in the Arctic and Groenland. In spite of its name it does not breed in Iceland, but will winter there, as well as along the western and eastern coasts of Canada and northern United States, and the Great Lakes.