Facts about The Glaucous Gull it is an Arctic visitor and dweller of the far north.
The Glaucous Gull has the scientific name Larus hyperboreus.
The Glaucous Gull has a white head and white underparts. The Glaucous Gull has dark eyes. The Glaucous Gull has a light grey back. The Glaucous Gull lacks any black on its body, which most related species have. Juvenile Glaucous Gulls have even lighter coloring than the adults but with a pink or black bill. Albino Gulls are regularly mistaken for this species, but Glaucous Gulls have some light brown markings while albinos are pure white.
The birds look like the Iceland Gull but are larger than the Iceland Gull. The Glaucous Gulls can approach the size of the Great Black Backed Gull, though without any of its dark black coloring. The Glaucous Gull ranges in size from two to five pounds, with males averaging half a pound heavier than the females. Those native to Coats Island, Canada, are the heaviest average population.
The eggs are light brown with dark brown splotches. Glaucous Gulls lay two to four eggs each breeding season.
The Glaucous Gulls nest on cliff ledges, islands, and beaches. These birds nest in pairs or colonies along the coast and on cliffs. Glaucous Gulls make a nest on the ground or on the cliff face. The nest is a mound of grasses, debris, and sea weed, usually on the rocks but sometimes on ice. Glaucous Gulls lay two to four eggs in each nest. The eggs are incubated for four weeks. The young fledge at seven to eight weeks of age. Glaucous Gulls are independent soon after. Adult Glaucous Gulls reach maturity at around four years of age.
The bird’s call is a laughing cry.
The Glaucous Gulls are omnivores. Glaucous Gulls will eat fish, mollusks, and insects. The Glaucous Gulls will also eat invertebrates like crabs and starfish. The Glaucous Gulls eat eggs of other species and smaller birds like chicks of other gull species. The Glaucous Gulls will eat small mammals and carrion. Glaucous Gulls eat offal and trash, the leavings of fishing boats and waste from fish canneries. The Glaucous Gulls sometimes eat berries, sea weed, and grains. Glaucous Gulls rarely catch smaller birds in midair and eat them.
The Glaucous Gull's behavior is not affected much by human activity. Glaucous Gulls occasionally scavenge at dumps in the far north, but they don’t scavenge human trash as much as other gulls because their primary habitat is sparsely populated.
The Glaucous Gulls are mostly coastal. Glaucous Gulls prefer coastal bays and estuaries, are found on islands and some large lakes, especially in winter.
Larus hyperboreus was identified by Gunnerus in 1767. Glaucous Gulls live in northern Europe to north-western Russia. Larus hyperboreus pallidissimus was identified by Portenko in 1939. It lives in north-western Siberia and on to the Bering Sea. Larus hyperboreus barrovianus was identified by Ridgway in 1886, the last subspecies to be identified. It lives in Alaska and northwest Canada. Larus hyperboreus leuceretes was identified by Schleep in 1819. It lives in central Canada, Greenland, and Iceland.
The Glaucous Gull is of least concern by the IUCN. In the winter, Glaucous Gulls are found along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Europe and North America. In summer, Glaucous Gulls are found throughout the Arctic Circle.
Hybrids of this species with the Glaucous Winged Gull are common in the Pacific Northwest.
This is the only large gull found regularly in the high Arctic.