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Thayer's Gull Larus thayeri


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Thayer's Gull
credit: Natureguy1980/CCSA

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Family: Laridae, Gulls and Terns view all from this family

Description ADULT SUMMER Has pale gray back and upper wings with white trailing edge and black primaries with long white "windows." Underwings are pale with black tips to primaries. Bill is dull greenish yellow with red spot on gonys. Eye is usually dark with red orbital ring. ADULT WINTER Similar, but head and neck have extensive brown mottling. JUVENILE Juvenile and first-winter are pale marbled brown with darker primaries and dark bill. Second- winter is much paler with gray back, but dark primaries and dark-tipped tail; bill is dark-tipped pale pink. Third-winter is similar to winter adult, but retains faint dark markings on tail and mantle.

Dimensions Length: 24" (61 cm)

Habitat Nests on high Arctic tundra and winters mainly on Pacific coast; sometimes inland at garbage dumps and large gull roosts.

Observation Tips Regular in winter, but seldom numerous.

Range Eastern Canada, Southeast, Southwest, Alaska, Western Canada, California, Great Lakes, Northwest, New England, Plains

Voice Utters a high-pitched kyaaa call.

Discussion Medium-sized pale gull; western counterpart of Iceland Gull. Compared to larger species, has relatively short legs (pink at all times), rounded head, and smaller bill. Takes 3 years to acquire adult plumage. Sexes are similar.