GULLS and Allies of The World

Gulls, terns, skimmers, skuas, puffins, and their allies belong to the order Charadriiformes. Charadriiformes is a diverse order and contains many other families. Most live near water and eat invertebrates or other small animals; however, some are pelagic (seabirds), some occupy deserts and a few are found in thick forest.

Gulls

Order Charadriiformes    Family Laridae


Gulls are most closely related to the terns . Gulls are typically medium to large birds, usually gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They typically have harsh wailing or squawking calls, stout, longish bills, and webbed feet. Gull species range in size from 29-76 cm. Most gulls, particularly Larus species, are ground nesting carnivores, which will take live food or scavenge opportunistically. Live food often includes crabs and small fish. Gulls have unhinging jaws which allow them to consume large prey. Apart from the kittiwakes, gulls are typically coastal or inland species, rarely venturing far out to sea. large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls. Gulls are resourceful, inquisitive and intelligent birds, demonstrating complex methods of communication and a highly developed social structure.


Genus Chroicocephalus

Gull, Andean  Chroicocephalus serranus  Found: South America
The Andean Gull is a black headed gull. It is unusual for living at high altitudes and thus should not be confused with other gulls.
Similar to: Brown-hood Gull. Andean Gull not found at coast, larger; Brown-hood Gull rarely found at high altitudes.
Image by:  1, 2) Charlie Westerinen - Lima Peru  3, 4, 5, 6) Dick Daniels - Sacred Valley, Peru 



Gull, Black-billed Chroicocephalus bulleri   Endemic to New Zealand
The Black-billed Gull is a lightly coloured gull with a small amount of black on its wingtips. It has a long, thin, black bill with a bright red interior, and reddish black feet and white eyes. The juvenile has a flesh coloured bill with a dark tip and dark brown eyes.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 4) Dick Daniels - New Zealand
1) Juvenile (identified by Charlie Westerinen)


Gull, Bonaparte's Chroicocephalus philadelphia  Found: North America, western Europe (rare)
The breeding Bonaparte's Gull has a black head; short thin dark bill; pale gray back and upper wings; white underparts, neck; orange legs. In winter the head is white except for small black patch on of head.
Similar to: Black-headed Gull.  Bonaparte's Gull is smaller in size and also has a smaller bill than Black-headed Gull. Bonaparte's bill is black while Black-headed has a dark red bill. Hood on breeding Bonaparte's Gull is darker and more extensive than on breeding Black-headed Gull.
Similar to: Little Gull. Little Gull is the smallest gull, about 2/3 the size of Bonaparte's Gull. Bonaparte's has white around the eye; Little Gull does not. Bonaparte's Gull wings have white underside (except for black wing tips; Little Gull wings have darker underside.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8) Dick Daniels - North Carolina   4) Bill Bouton - California    9, 10) Dick - Mississippi  11) Jamie Chavez - California   12) Ken Schneider - Alaska  
1, 2, 3) Juvenile  4 - 10) Nonbreeding  11, 12) Breeding


Gull, Black-headed Chroicocephalus ridibundus   Found: North America (northeastern), Europe
The breeding Black-headed Gull has a dark brown head; red bill, legs; pale gray upper wings with black-tipped primary feathers; white underparts, neck, shoulders. In winter the head is white except for 2 dark black ptaches on of head.
Similar to: Bonaparte's Gull.  Bonaparte's Gull is smaller in size and also has a smaller bill than Black-headed Gull. Bonaparte's bill is black while Black-headed has a dark red bill. Hood on breeding Bonaparte's Gull is darker and more extensive than on breeding Black-headed Gull.
Similar to: Gray-hooded Gull. The Black-headed Gull has a darker hood than the Gray Hooded-gull.
Similar to: Little Gull. Little Gull is the smallest gull, about 2/3 the size of Black-headed Gull. Black-headed has white around the eye; Little Gull does not.
Image by: 1) Vitaliy Khustochka - Ukraine  2) Asten - London  3) Ómar Runólfsson - Iceland  4, 5) Dick Daniels - North Carolina     6) Dick - Scotland  7 Cristiano Crolle - Texel, Holland   8) Maarten Van Kleinwee - Netherlands  9) Sergey Yeliseev - Moscow
1) Juvenile  2) 1st winter  3, 4, 5) Nonbreeding  6 - 9) Breeding



Gull, Brown-headed  Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus  Found: Asia
The breeding Brown-headed Gull has a pale brown head; pale gray upperparts; white neck, underparts; red bill, legs. Nonbreeding hood is replaced by brown vertical stripes. It breeds in the high plateaus of central Asia from Turkmenistan to Mongolia. It is migratory, wintering on the coasts and large inland lakes of tropical southern Asia.
Image by: 1) Ariful Haque Bhuiyan - Bangladesh  2)   Gaurika Wijeratne    3)   Jim Linwood  4) Mvshreeram - India  5) David Cook - Sri Lanka 
10 Juvenile  2) Nonbreeding  3, 4, 5) Breeding



Gull, Brown-hooded  Chroicocephalus maculipennis  Found: South America
The breeding Brown-hooded Gull has a brown hood; gray wing tops with white outer primaries; black tips of inner primaries; red bill; white neck, shoulders, and underparts; incomplete white eye-ring. Nonbreeding adult has white head; dark spot behind eye.
Similar to: Andean Gull. Andean Gull not found at coast, larger; Brown-hood Gull rarely found at high altitudes.
Image by:  1,  2) Cláudio Timm in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil 


Gull, Gray-hooded  also Gray-headed Gull Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus  Found: South America, Europe, Africa
The breeding Gray-hooded Gull has light gray hood and wings; white shoulders, neck, underparts; red bill and legs. Winter gull has white head with faint mark behind ear.
Similar to: Black-headed Gull. The Black-headed Gull has a darker hood than the Gray Hooded-gull.
Similar to: Hartlaub's Gull. Breeding Gray-hooded Gull has distinct hood. Hartlaub's gull has darker eyes and legs.
Image by:   5)  Nicolas Barcet  6) Gabriel Buissart - Delta du Sine Saloum SN  7) Lip Key - South Africa  8) Cláudio Timm - Brazil  1, 4) Werner Witte - Zambia  2) Johann Snyman - South Africa  3) John B - New York  (very infrequent in USA) 


Gull, Hartlaub's Chroicocephalus hartlaubii Found: South Africa, Namibia
Hartlaub's Gull is mainly a white gull with a gray back and upperwings, black wingtips with conspicuous white "mirrors", and a dark red bill and legs. When breeding it has a very faint lavender gray hood, but otherwise has a plain white head.
Similar to: Gray-hooded Gull. Breeding Gray-hooded Gull has distinct hood. Hartlaub's gull has darker eyes and legs.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Dick- Cape Town, South Africa   4) Dick - Hout, South Africa


Gull, Red-billed Chroicocephalus scopulinus   Found: New Zealand
The Red-billed Gull is a fairly small gull with an all red bill, red eye-ring, red legs and feet, pale gray wings with black wingtips.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 4)  Tony Wills in Petone, Wellington,  


Gull, Silver Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae   Found: Australia, New Zealand
The Silver Gull has white body, head, tail; light gray wings with black tips terminated in white; red bill, legs.
Image by:  1) Charlie Westerinen - Australia  2, 3, 4, 5) Dick Daniels - Australia   6) JJ Harrison - Tasmania, Australia
1) Juvenile and adult



Gull, Slender-billed
  Chroicocephalus genei  Found; Europe, Asia, Africa
The Slender-billed Gull has a slender and slight drooping reddish-black bill; dark red legs; gray back, wings; white head, neck, underparts; pale yellow iris. Breeding birds has pink-tinged breast.
Image by: 1, 2, 4) Lip Kee - Egypt  3) Gabriel Buissart 



Genus Creagrus- 1 species

Gull, Swallow-tailed  Creagrus furcatus   Found: vacinity of Galapagos Islands
The Swallow-tailed Gull has white swallow-shaped tail; gray back; wings that are black near the back, white further out, and black wingtips; black bill with white tip. Breeding gull has black head; red eye-ring. Nonbreeding gull has white head, black eye-ring.
Image by: 1) David Cook - Galapagos  2, 5) Benjamint444 - Ecuador  3) Marc Figueras  4) Putney Mark
1) Juvenile




Genus Hydrocoloeus - 1 species

Gull, Little   Hydrocoloeus minutus also Larus minutus   Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The Little Gull is the smallest gull. It has light gray wings; pale underwings; white shoulders, neck, underparts; little bill; red legs. Breeding has black hood. Nonbreeding has residual black spots on head.
Similar to: Black-headed Gull, Bonaparte's Gull. Black-headed Gull and Bonaparte's Gull have white around the eye; Little Gull does not.
Similar to: Ross's Gull. Breeding adult Ross's Gull has black ring around neck; breeding Little Gull has black cap.
Similar to: Sabine's Gull. Adult Little Gull and adult Sabine's have dark hoods, but only adult Sabine's has yellow tipped bill. The black and white wing pattern of Sabine's Gull is more distinct than Little Gull's.
Image by: 1) Kallerna - Finland  2, 5) Ómar Runólfsson - Iceland  3) Sergey Yeliseev - Turkey  4) Dave Curtis - England  
1) Juvenile (perhaps Ross;s Gull)  2) Juvenile  3) Nonbreding  4, 5) Breeding




Genus Ichthyaetus

Gull, Audouin's  Ichthyaetus audouinii  Found: Near the Mediterranean (Europe, Asia, Africa)
The Audouin's Gull has gray back, wings; white head, neck, underparts; red bill; gray-green legs.
Image by:  Andreas Butz   2) Muchaxo - Portugal  3, 4) Sergey Yeliseev - Spain


Gull, Mediterranean Ichthyaetus melanocephalus Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The breeding Mediterranean Gull is a distinctive white gull. It has very pale grey mantle and wings; white primary feathers; black hood; white eye crescents; dark red bill with black subterminal band. The non breeding adult is similar but the hood is reduced to an extensive dusky mask through the eye.
Image by: 1) Charlie Westerinen - Hungary  2) Dan Davison - England  3) Martin Olsson  - Sweden
1) Juvenile  2) Nonbreeding   3) Breeding


Gull, Pallas's  Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
Image by:   1, 2) Balaji Venkatesh Sivaramakrishnan  3) Ron Knight


Gull, Relict  also  Central Asia Gull  Ichthyaetus relictus  Found: Asia
The nonbreeding Relict Gull has dark-smudged ear-coverts, rear hind-crown; white tipped wings. Breeding has black hood, nape; gray-brown forehead; white half-moon shapes around eye; orange legs; scarlet biil.
Image by: 1) Matt Slymaker - China  2) Nigel Voaden - Kazakhstan
1) Nonbreeding 2) Breeding


Gull, Sooty  Ichthyaetus hemprichii  Found: Africa
Image by: 1, 2) S Jahanmi   3) Tahir Al Shabibi  4) Moayed Bahajjaj - Oman


Gull, White-eyed  Ichthyaetus leucophthalmus  Found: Red Sea vicinity (Asia, Africa)
The White-eyed Gull has a long slender bill; medium dark gray upperparts; light gray breast; white belly. The breeding gull has a black head, throat. The nonbreeding gull has white speckled with the black.
Image by: 1) Sergey Yeliseev  - Egypt  1, 2, 3) Marcel Holyoak - Israel
2, 3, 4) Breeding



Genus Larus
The Larus gulls are in general medium to large birds, typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet.

Gull, Armenian  Larus armenicus  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The Armenian Gull has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; yellow legs; yellow bill with dark ring; dark eyes. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. First winter birds are mainly brown.
Found in the Caucasus and Middle East.
Similar to: Ring-billed Gull. Ranges do not overlap. Armenian Gull has dark eyes; Ring-billed Gull has yellow eyes.
Similar to: Yellow-legged Gull. Armenian Gull has dark eyes; Yellow-legged Gull has yellow eyes.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 4) Marcel Holyoak - Israel


Gull, Belcher's  also Band-tailed Gull  Larus belcheri   Found: South America
The breeding Belcher's Gull has black back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck; yellow legs; yellow bill - red and black spot at its end. Nonbreeding has black head; white eye crescents; dark tipped bill. Top surface of tail is banded - white in front, black at end. Primary wing feathers no not have white spots (mirrors) at tips.
Similar to: Kelp Gull. Kelp Gull has white spots on tip of primaries; Belcher's Gull  has entirely black wing tips. Kelp Gull has all white tail. Belcher's Gull has black tail-band.
Similar to: Olrog's Gull. Olrog's Gull is on the Atlantic coast of South America and Belcher's is on the Pacific Coast of South America.
Image by: 1, 2) Charlie Westerinen - Lima, Peru  3) Alastair Rae  4) Dick Daniels - Lima
1) Juvenile 2) Nonbreeding  3, 4) Breeding


Gull, Black-tailed  Larus crassirostris  Found: North America (rare), east Asia
The breeding Black-tailed Gull has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck; white tail with a black band and white-tipped end; yellow legs; yellow bill with red and black spot at end; yellow eyes with red orbital ring. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. Nonbreeding adult has brown streaked head.
Similar to: Ring-billed Gull. Ring of Black-tailed Gull is close to the end of its bill; ring of Ring-billed Gull is not close to the end of its bill. Tip of Black-tailed Gull's bill is red. Their ranges rarely overlap.
Image by: 1) Andy Li   2) Kevin Lin - Taiwan  3) Osa Mu - Japan   4) Angie - Japan  5) Alistair Rae - Japan  6) Shizhao - Bejing Zoo  7) Bamse on ferry across Tokyo bay
1, 2) Juvenile   



Gull, California Larus californicus Found: west North America
The breeding California Gull has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; yellow-green legs; yellow bill with red and black at end; dark eyes with red orbital ring. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. Nonbreeding adult has sooty streaks on nape
Similar to Herring Gull. California Gull has a darker iris. Herring Gull has pink legs; California Gull has yellowish-green legs.
Similar to: Ring-billed Gull.  California Gull is larger and has a darker iris. Ring-billed Gull has a more distinct ring on bill.
Image by: 1) Laura Gooch - Washington   2, 4) Elaine R Wilson - Near Victoria, British Columbia   3) Dick Daniels - California  5) Len Blumin - California  6) Maggie Smith   7) Charlie Westerinen - Utah
1, 2) Juvenile  3, 4) Nonbreeding  5, 6, 7) Breeding 



Gull, Cape  Larus vetula   Found: southern Africa
The Cape Gull has black upperparts; wings black on top with white spots on tip of primaries; wings white below with black near ends; white underparts, head, neck, tail; yellow bill with red spot; dark eye.
Similar to: Kelp Gull. Considered by some to be species of Kelp Gull. The ranges do not overlap. Cape Gull has a darker eye than Kelp Gull.
Image by:  1) Dick Daniels - George, South Africa  2, 3) Dick - Hout, South Africa  4) Dick - Plettenberg Bay, South Africa


Gull, Caspian  Larus cachinnans  Found: east Europe, west and central Asia
Breeds in eastern Europe and west/central Asia. Range extends westward after breeding season. The legs are normally pink at all ages, but can be yellowish.
Similar to: Herring Gull. Easiest way to differentiate between the species is by range.
Similar to: Yellow-legged Gull. The leg color of adult Yellow-legged Gulls is usually sufficient to differentiate Yellow-legged Gulls from Caspian gulls, but the legs of their species can also occassionally be yellowish. Range can also be used to differentiate between the species.
Image by: 1, 2) Marek Szczepanek   3, 4) Maarten van Kleinwee
1) Juvenile  2, 3, 4) Adult


Gull, Glaucous Larus hyperboreus   Found: North America, Europe, Asia
The breeding Glaucous Gull has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; pink legs; yellow bill with red spot; yellow eyes with yellow orbital ring, sometimes red ring. White primary wing feathers. Nonbreeding adult has slightly streaked head.
Similar to: Glauscous-winged Gull. Juvenile Glaucous Gull has light colored bill with dark tip; juvenile Glaucous-winged Gull has dark bill. Adult Glaucous Gull has bright eye and a yellow gape at the base of its bill; adult Glaucous-winged Gull has dark eye and pink gape.
Similar to: Iceland Gull. Glaucous Gull much larger than Iceland Gull.
Image by:  1) Ómar Runólfsson - Iceland  2) Linda Tanner - California  3) Len Blumin - California  4) Charlie Westerinen - Greenland
    5) Alastair Rae - Japan   6) nebirdsplus - New Hampshire  7) US Fish and Wildlife Service - Aleutian Islands  8) Blake Maybank - California
1) Juvenile, dark type 2, 3, 4) Juvenile   5) Adult, nonbreeding  6, 7, 8) Adult, breeding   


Gull, Glaucous-winged  Larus glaucescens    Found: North America (Pacific Coast)
The breeding Glaucous-winged Gull has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; pink legs; yellow bill with red spot; dark eyes with pink orbital ring. Nonbreeding adult has lightly speckled brown neck.
Similar to: Glauscous Gull. Juvenile Glaucous Gull has light colored bill with dark tip; juvenile Glaucous-winged Gull has dark bill. Adult Glaucous Gull has bright eye and a yellow gape at the base of its bill; adult Glaucous-winged Gull has dark eye and pink gape.
Similar to: Iceland Gull.
Image by: 1) Just Chaos  2, 3, 6) Dick Daniels - Seldovia, Alaska  4)   tgreyfox  5) Dick Daniels - Seward, Alaska 
1, 2, 3) Juvenile  4) 3rd winter  5. 6) Breeding



Gull, Great Black-backed Larus marinus   Found: east North America, Europe, Asia
The adult Great Black-backed Gull has black back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; pink legs; yellow bill with red spot. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. This is the world's largest gull.
Similar to: Lesser Black-backed Gull. Adult Lesser Black-backed has yellow legs, adult Great Black-backed Gull has  pink legs. Great Black-backed Gull is considerably larger.  Juvenile Lesser Black-backed has smaller bill and more streaks on breast than Great Black-backed. When not flying, juvenile LBBG has more solid dark brown visible on rump than GBBG.
Similar to: Kelp Gull, Slaty-backed Gull. Of these gulls, only the Great Black-backed has pink legs.
Image by:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)  Dick Daniels
1 - 5) Juvenile
10) Great Black-Backed Gull is larger than Herring Gull
11) Back: adult Herring Gull and 2 adult Great Black Backs.
      Middle: juvenile Lesser Black Backed and juvenile Great Black Backed.
      Front: juvenile Herring Gull.





Gull, Heermann's Larus heermanni Found: North America and Central America 
The Heermann's Gull has gray body; blackish-gray wings and tail with white edges; red bill with black tip; white head in summer, dusky gray in winter.
Not similar to any other gull.
Image by: 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9. 10, 11) Dick Daniels - California   5, 12) Alan D Wilson - Huntington Beach, California   6) Elaine R. Wilson  - La Jolla, California
2, 3, 4) Juvenile    5, 6, 7) non breeding   8 - 11) breeding


Gull, Herring (American) Larus smithsonianus   Found: North America, Asia
The breeding American Herring Gull has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; pink legs; yellow bill with red spot; yellow eyes with orange orbital ring. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. Nonbreeding adult has brown speckled head and neck.
Similar to Califoria Gull. California Gull has a darker iris. Herring Gull has pink legs; California Gull has yellowish-green legs.
Similar to: European Herring Gull, Some consider the America Herring Gull to be a subspecies of the European. Diffiicult to distingquish between them. 
Similar to: Slaty-backed Gull, juvenile. Juvenile Herring Gulls and juvenile Slaty-backed Gulls are difficult to distinguish. Adult Herring Gull has a lighter back than Adult Slaty-backed Gull.
Similar to: Thayer's Gull. Herring Gulls are darker than Thayer's Gull. Adult Herring Gull has yellow eye; Thayer's Gull has dark eye.
Similar to: Western Gull, juvenile. Juvenile Herring Gull and juvenile Western Gull difficult to distinguish.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) Dick Daniels - East Coast, United States 
1 - 4) Juvenile  5) Juvenile, adult  6) nonbreeding  7, 8,,9, 10) Breeding
9) The concentric circles of waves were caused by the gull rapidly stomping its feet to help find prey. As it stomped its feet it also slowly rotated in a circle.


Gull, Herring (European)  Larus argentatus  Found: northern Europe (Great Britain, the North Sea coast, and Scandinavia), Asia
The breeding European Herring Gull has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; pink legs; yellow bill with red spot; yellow eyes with orange orbital ring. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. Nonbreeding adult has brown speckled head and neck.
Similar to: American Herring Gull, Some consider the America Herring Gull to be a subspecies of the European. Diffiicult to distingquish between them.
Similar to: Caspian Gull. Easiest way to differentiate between the species is by range.
Similar to: Yellow-legged Gull. The leg color of adult Yellow-legged Gulls is usually sufficient to differentiate Yellow-legged Gulls from either Herring Gulls, but the legs of these species can occassionally be yellowish. Range can also be used to differentiate between the species.
Image by: 1, 3, 4) Dick Daniels - England  2) Charlie Westerinen - Lerwick , Shetland Island  5) Jalil Arfaoui 
1) Juvenile



Gull, Iceland  Larus glaucoides  Found: northeast North America to north Europe
The adult Iceland Gull has light gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; pink legs; yellow bill with red spot. Sometimes primary wing feathers have black spots at tips.
Similar to: Glaucous GullGlauscous-winged Gull. Glaucous Gull much larger than Iceland Gull.
Similar to: Thayer's Gull. Thayer's Gull usually darker than Iceland Gull. Adult Thayer's Gull has more black on wing-tips than adult Iceland Gull.
Image by: 1) Mpf - Northumberland, UK  2) Len Blumin - California  3) Mdf - Toronto, CA  4) Hillary Chambers   5) Ómar Runólfsson - Iceland   7) Seabamirum - New York
1 - 4) Juvenile  2) L. g. kumlieni  5) Adult, nonbreeding  6) Adult, breeding 



Gull, Kelp also Southern Black-backed Gull Larus dominicanus   Found: North America (rare), South America, Africa, Australasia
The adult Kelp Gull has black back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; greenish-yellow legs; yellow bill with red spot. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips.
Similar to: Belcher's Gull. Kelp Gull has white spots on tip of primaries; Belcher's Gull  has entirely black wing tips. Kelp Gull has all white tail; Belcher's Gull has black tail-band.
Similar to: Cape Gull. Considered by some to be species of Kelp Gull. The ranges do not overlap. Cape Gull has a darker eye than Kelp Gull.
Similar to: Great Black-backed Gull. Great Black-backed Gull has pink legs; Kelp Gull has greenish-yellow legs (more yellow when breeding).
Similar to: Lesser Black-back Gull. Adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls have brighter yellow feet than Kelp Gulls.
Similar to: Yellow-footed Gull. Adults are easliy differentiated because of the Yellow-footed Gull's bright yellow feet.
Image by: 1) dFaulder - Isla Magdalena, Chile  2, 4, 5) Dick Daniels - New Zealand   6, 9) Charlie Westrinen - Antarctic region    3, 7) Cláudio Timm Beagle Channel, Argentina 8) Dario Sanches - Brazil
1) Adult, chick 2, 3) Juvenile 4 - 7) Adult  6, 9) L. d. austrinusus




Gull, Lesser Black-backed Larus fuscus Found: east North America, South America (rare), Europe, Asia, Africa
The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull has black back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; bright yellow legs; yellow bill with red spot. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips.
Similar to: Great Black-backed Gull. Adult Lesser Black-backed has yellow legs, adult Great Black-backed Gull has  pink legs. Great Black-backed Gull is considerably larger.  Juvenile Lesser Black-backed has smaller bill and more streaks on breast than Great Black-backed. When not flying, juvenile LBBG has more solid dark brown visible on rump than GBBG.
Similar to: Kelp Gull. Adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls have brighter yellow feet then Kelp Gulls.
Similar to: Yellow-footed Gull. Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and adult Yellow-footed Gull both have yellow feet. Their rnages do not overlap.
Similar to: Yellow-legged Gull. Adults of both species have yellow legs, but the back of Lesser Black-backed Gull is much darker than that of Yellow-legged Gull.
Image by: 1, 3) Dick Daniels - Nantucket, Massachusetts  2) Mark Skevington - England     4) Grantuking - Portugal  5, 7, 8, 9) Dick - Scotland   6) Maarten van Kleinwee - Netherlands  
1, 2, 3) Juvenile 3) Lesser Black-backed Gull is smaller than Herring Gull 4) Adult, nonbreeding   5 - 9) Adult, breeding




Gull, Mew also Common Gull Larus canus   Found: west North America, Europe, Asia, north Africa
The breeding Mew has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; greenish-yellow; yellow bill; yellow eyes with red orbital ring. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. Nonbreeding adult has neck streaked with gray; hint of dark ring at end of bill.
Similar to: Ring-billed Gull. Ringed-bill Gull has a distinct ring on the bill; Mew Gull has at most an indistinct ring.  Mew Gull has dark eyes, Ringed-bill has light eyes. Mew Gull slightly smaller than Ring-billed Gulls and on the average the bill is shorter.
Image by: 1) Alan Wilson - Alaska  2) Alan D. Wilson - British Columbia  3) Dick Daniels - Half Moon Bay, California   4, 5, 6, 7) Dick - Homer, Alaska  8, 9, 10) Dick - Denali National Park, Alaska 
1) Juvenile  2 - 5) Nonbreeding  6 - 10) Breeding


Eurasian
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 6) Dick - Scotland  3) Dick - Scotland   4) Keith Marshall - England  5) Sergey Yeliseev - Moscow region   7) Charles Lam - Korea
1) Juvenile 2) Common Gull in front, Herring Gull in back    7) Identified by Ville Supponen



Gull, Olrog's  Larus Atlanticus  Found: Atlantic coast of South America
The breeding Olrog's Gull has black back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck; white tail black-tipped; yellow legs; yellow bill - red and black spot at its end. Primary wing feathers no not have white spots (mirrors) at tips.
Similar to: Belcher's Gull. Olrog's Gull is on the Atlantic coast of South America and Belcher's is on the Pacific Coast of South America.
Image by: 1, 2) Cláudio Timm - Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil  3) Cristiano Crolle - Las Gaviotas, Argentina
1) Juvenile


Gull, Pacific Larus pacificus   Found: Australia
The adult Pacific Gull has black back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck; white tail with black band and white-tipped; dark yellow legs; yellow bill with red tip; pale iris with orange orbital ring. Primary wing feathers no not have white spots (mirrors) at tips.
Similar to: Kelp Gull. The adult Pacific Gull has dark yellow legs compared to the greenish-yellow of the Kelp Gull.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Featherdale Wildlife Park in Australia   2) melbournian1 - Sandringham beach   3) Chensiyuan - Melbourne  4) Charlie Westerinen - Syndey, Australia
1) Juvenile


Gull, Ring-billed Larus delawarensis   Found: North America, Europe
The breeding Ring-billed Gull has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; yellow legs; yellow bill with dark ring; yellow eyes with red orbital ring. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. Nonbreeding adult has brown streaked head.
Similar to: Armenian Gull. Ranges do not overlap. Armenian Gull has dark eyes; Ring-billed Gull has yellow eyes.
Similar to: Black-tailed Gull. Ring of Black-tailed Gull is close to the end of its bill; ring of Ring-billed Gull is not close to the end of its bill. Tip of Black-tailed Gull's bill is red. Their ranges rarely overlap.
Similar to: California Gull.  California Gull is larger and has a darker iris. Ring-billed Gull has a more distinct ring on bill.
Similar to: Common Gull / Mew Gull. Ringed-bill Gull has a distinct ring on the bill; Common Gull has at most an indistinct ring.  Common Gull has dark eyes, Ringed-bill has light eyes. Common Gull slightly smaller than Ring-billed Gulls and on the average the bill is shorter.
Image by:  1) Mdf - Ontario  2,  3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) Dick Daniels - North Carolina   
1) Juvenile 2, 3) Immature  4, 5, 6) Nonbreeding  9. 10) Breeding


Gull, Slaty-backed  Larus schistisagus  Found: North America (infrequent), eastern coast of Asia
The breeding Slaty-backed Gull has dark gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; pink legs; yellow bill with red spot; yellowish eyes with pinkish orbital ring. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. Nonbreeding adult has marked head and nape.
Similar to: Herring Gull, juvenile. Juvenile Herring Gulls and juvenile Slaty-backed Gulls are difficult to distinguish.
Similar to: Western Gull. Slaty-backed Gull has slightly darker wings and back, thinner bill. Nonbreeding adult Western Gull has whiter head and neck than nonbreeding Slaty-backed Gull.
Image by: 1) Charles Lem  2) Hiyashi Halso  3) Herman Mays - Japan  4)  E-190   5) Seabamirum - New York
1) Juvenile  2, 3) Adult, nonbreeding  4) Adult, breeding



Gull, Thayer's  Larus thayeri  Found: North America
The breeding Thayer's Gull has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; pink legs; yellow bill with red spot; usually dark eyes. Wing bottom white with black tipped primaries. Nonbreeding adult has brown speckled head and neck; greenish-yellow bill.
Similar to: Herring Gull. Herring Gulls are darker than Thayer's Gull. Adult Herring Gull has yellow eye; Thayer's Gull has dark eye.
Similar to: Iceland Gull. Thayer's Gulls are darker than Iceland Gulls.
Image by: 1) Jorge Montejo - Mexico  2) Jerry Oldenettel - New Mexico   3) Maggie Smith - California  4) Nathan Hamm   5) Maholyoak - Monterey, California 
1, 2, 3) Juvenile  5) Nonbreeding (front), breeding (rear)   



Gull, Western Larus occidentalis   Found: Pacific coast North America
The adult Western Gull has dark gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; pink legs; yellow bill with red spot; eyes have orange-yellow orbital ring. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips.
Similar to: Herring Gull, juvenile. Juvenile Herring Gull and juvenile Western Gull difficult to distinguish.
Similar to: Slaty-backed Gull. Slaty-backed Gull has slightly darker wings and back, thinner bill. Nonbreeding adult Western Gull has whiter head and neck than nonbreeding Slaty-backed Gull.
Similar to: Yellow-footed Gull. Adults are easliy differentiated because of the Yellow-footed Gull's yellow feet.
Image by: 1) Basar - California    2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) Dick Daniels - California  3) Lucina M     10) Nicholas D - Alaska   
1, 2) Juvenile  




Gull, Yellow-footed  Larus livens  Found: Pacific coast North America
The adult Yellow-footed Gull has dark gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; bright yellow legs; yellow bill with red spot; yellow eyes with yellow orbital ring. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips.
Similar to: Kelp Gull. Adults are easliy differentiated because of the Yellow-footed Gull's bright yellow feet.
Similar to: Lesser-blacked Gull. Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and adult Yellow-footed Gull both have yellow feet. Their rnages do not overlap.
Similar to: Western Gull. Adults are easliy differentiated because of the Yellow-footed Gull's yellow feet.
Image by:  1, 3) Jerry Oldenettel - California  2) Amy McAndrews - Mexico  4) Steve Ryan 
1) Juvenile


Gull, Yellow-legged  Larus michahellis   Found: North America (rare), Europe , Africa
The breeding Yellow-footed Gull has gray back and wing-tops; white underparts, head, neck, tail; yellow legs; yellow bill with red spot; yellow eyes with red orbital ring. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. Nonbreeding adult may have some streaking on head.
Similar to: Arnenian Gull. Armenian Gull has dark eyes; Yellow-legged Gull has yellow eyes.
Similar to: Caspian Gull , Herring Gull. The leg color of adult Yellow-legged Gulls is usually sufficient to differentiate Yellow-legged Gulls from either Herring or Caspian gulls, but the legs of these species can occassionally be yellowish. Range can also be used to differentiate between the species.
Similar to: Lesser Black-backed. Adults of both species have yellow legs, but the back of Lesser Black-backed Gull is much darker than that of Yellow-legged Gull.
Image by:  1) Jorg Hempel - Thasos, Greece  2) Julio Reis - Porto, Portugal  3) Alvesgasper  
   4) Sergey Yeliseev - Turkey  5) Frankie Chu   6) Charlie Westerinen - Hamburg, Germany




Genus Leucophaeus
New World gulls. All have  white crescents above and below the eyes.

Gull, Dolphin  Leucophaeus scoresbii  Found: South America
The breeding Dolphin Gull has dark gray back and wing-tops; light gray underparts, light gray head, neck; white tail; red legs; red bill; light eyes. Flight feathers have white tips. Nonbreeding adult has darker gray head. Juvenile has gray hood.
Image by:  1) Charlie Westerinen - Ushuaia, Argentina  2, 4, 5) Claudio D. Timm - Argentina    3, 6) D. Faulkner - Falkland Islands  7) Liam Quinn - Argentina
1) First cycle plumage  2) Juvenile 



Gull, Franklin's  Leucophaeus pipixcan  Found: west-central North America, Pacific coast S. America. Vagrant: Europe, Africa, Australia
The breeding Franklin Gull has gray back; gray wing-tops with white trailing edges and black ends; white underparts, neck, tail; black hooded head; reddish-black legs and bill; white eye-crescents. Some primary wing feathers have white spots (mirrors) at tips. Nonbreeding adult has white head with substantial residual black hood.
Similar to: Laughing Gull.  Breeding Laughing Gull has more complete cap than breeding Franklin's Gull. Laughing Gull has more black on underside wing tip than Franklin's Gull. Nonbreeding Franklin's Gull has more black on head than nonbreeding Laughing Gull.
Image by: 1) aberlin2009   2) Johaan du Preez - South Africa  3)  Leppyone - Florida    4) Aviceda - SE Queensland, Australia   5, 6) Kaleomokuokanalu - Hawaii
1, 2) Juvenile  3) Adult, nonbreeding  4 - 6) Adult, breeding



Gull, Gray  Leucophaeus modestus   Found: Mexico (rare), Pacific coast of South America
The Gray Gull has gray upperparts and lower parts; light gray head.
Image by:  1) Luc Bettinelli  2) Adam Dewan  3) 4028MDK29
   2) Not a living bird


Gull, Laughing Leucophaeus atricilla   Found: The Americas, Australia  Vagrant: Europe, Africa
The breeding Laughing Gull has gray back; gray wing-tops with white trailing edges and black ends; white underparts, neck, tail; black hooded head; reddish-black legs and bill; white eye-crescents. Nonbreeding adult has mostly white head with some residual black.
Similar to: Franklin's Gull.  Breeding Laughing Gull has more complete cap than breeding Franklin's Gull. Laughing Gull has more black on underside wing tip than Franklin's Gull. Nonbreeding Franklin's Gull has more black on head than nonbreeding Laughing Gull.
Image by:  1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) Dick Daniels - North Carolina  2, 3, 4, 6) Dick - Panama  12)  Thomas Redican - Texas
1, 2) Juvenile  3) 2nd winter  4, 5, 6) Nonbreeding  7 - 12) Breeding


Gull, Lava Leucophaeus fuliginosus   Endemic to the Galapagos Islands. Rare.
The Lava gull has gray body; black head, bill, legs; lighter gray underparts; white eye crescents.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Dick Daniels - Santa Cruz Island of the Galapagos 



Genus Pagophila - 1 species

Gull, Ivory  Pagophila eburnea Found: circumpolar, including North America
The Ivory Gull has white body; black eye and legs; grayish-green bill with yellow or red tip.
Image by: 1) US Fish and Wildlife Service  - Anchorage, Alaska  2, 3, 4) Alan Vernon - California
1) Juvenile



Genus Rhodostethia - 1 species

Gull, Ross's  Rhodostethia rosea   Found: north North America, Europe
The breeding Ross's Gull has light gray back and wings; white underparts, head, tail; white neck with black ring; red legs; black bill. Nonbreeding adult has residual black mark on neck, but no neck ring.
Similar to: Little Gull, Sabine's Gull. Breeding adult Ross's Gull has black ring around neck; breeding adult Little Gull and breeding adult Sabine's Gull have black cap.
Image by:  1) Unknown   2) Seabaminum - New York  3) John Breitsch - Colorado  4) Dominic Sherony - Manitoba 
1) Juvenile  2, 3) Nonbreeding  4) Breeding  



Genus Rissa
Kittiwakes are the only gulls that nest on cliffs.

Kittiwake, Black-legged also Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla   Found: North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America
The Black-legged Kittiwake has a white head; underparts; gray back; gray wings tipped solid black; black legs; yellow bill.
Similar to
: Red-legged Kittiwake. The leg color usually differentiates between Black-legged and Red-legged Kittwakes, but sometimes a Black-legged Kittiwake can have reddish legs.
Image by: 1) Seabamirum - Massachusetts 2) Bill Bouton - California   3, 4, 5) Dick Daniels - Seward, Alaska    6, 7) Dick - Homer, Alaska   8, 9) Dick - Scotland
1, 2) Juvenile 3, 4) Nonbreeding 5 - 9) Breeding




Kittiwake, Red-legged also Kittiwake Rissa brevirostris   Found: west North America, Asia
The Red-legged Kittiwake has a white head; underparts; gray back; gray wings tipped solid black; red legs; yellow bill.
Similar to: Black-legged Kittiwake. The leg color usually differentiates between Black-legged and Red-legged Kittwakes, but sometimes a Black-legged Kittiwake can have reddish legs.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Dick Daniels - Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward  4) Nic MclPhee - Seward



Genus Saundersilarus - 1 species

Gull, Saunder's  Saundersilarus saundersi  also Chroicocephalus saundersi Found: Asia
Image by: 1, 2) Charles Lam - Hong Kong
1) Nonbreeding 2) Breeding



Genus Xema - 1 species

Gull, Sabine's  Xema sabini  Found: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia (vagrant)
The adult Sabine's Gull has a pale grey back and wing coverts; black primary flight feathers and white secondaries; white forked tail; black bill with yellow tip. The male's hood darkens during breeding season.
Similar to: Little Gull. Little Gull is the smallest gull. Adult Little Gull and adult Sabine's have dark hoods, but only adult Sabine's has yellow tipped bill. The black and white wing pattern of Sabine's Gull is more distinct than Little Gull's.
Similar to: Ross's Gull. Adult Little Gull and adult Sabine's have dark hoods, but only adult Sabine's has yellow tipped bill. The black and white wing pattern of Sabine's Gull is more distinct than Little Gull's.
Image by: 1) Amy McAndrew - Mexico  2) Lawrie Phipps - United Kingdom  3) Greg Schechter - California  4) Blake Matheson - California  5) Jerry Oldenettel - California  6, 7) Ómar Runólfsson - Iceland 
1, 2, 3) Juvenile  4) Nonbreeding  5, 6, 7) Breeding






Back to Top