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Western Gull Larus occidentalis


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Western Gull, adult
credit: Dschwen/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT Has dark gray back and upper wings, except for white trailing edge and black wingtips with white "window" on outer primary and white tips to others. Plumage is otherwise white. Bill is yellow with red spot on gonys, and eye has yellow orbital ring. JUVENILE Juvenile and first-winter are mottled brown overall with dark primaries and dark tail, and pink-based dark bill. By second winter, has mainly dark gray back, although wing coverts remain mottled brown; plumage is otherwise white, except for dark tail. Third-winter resembles adult, but with some dark feathering on tail and upper wing coverts, and little or no white on otherwise dark wing tips.

Dimensions Length: 24-27" (61-69 cm)

Habitat Common resident on Pacific coast and seldom found inland. Nests colonially on islands and at other times seen on beaches, rocky coasts, or feeding at sea.

Observation Tips Easy to see within its coastal range.

Range Northwest, California, Western Canada

Voice Utters a kyaah call.

Discussion Bulky, large-billed gull. All birds have pink legs. Two subspecies recognized: southern wymani has darker upperparts and paler eyes than northern occidentalis. Sexes are similar.