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Glaucous-winged Gull


First Cycle
Second Cycle
Third Cycle


GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL(24-27";52-54") glaucescens

BILL SHAPE: large and bulky; gon. angle mod. to large; length 4-5x eye diameter; curve to culmen may be steep; first years may have smaller bills
HEAD SHAPE: rather rounded crown; may have small pin-headed look
WING EXTENSION: fairly short; usually half bill length or less
POSTURE/HABITS: usually larger and bulkier than Herring, though females are smaller
BILL COLOR: black; slight pink base to lower mand. possible by spring varies from nearly solid black to pale flesh yellow w/ black tip pale yellow w/ variable dark sides; may show pale gon. spot pale yellow w/ orange-red gon. spot; most have dark smudge above spot on lower mand. and sometimes across upper mand.
LEG COLOR: dirty dark or dull pink dirty pink dirty pink pink
IRIS/ORB RING: dark dark dark brown to pale brown; pale amber is rare; orb. ring reddish to purple
HEAD: uniform g-b, darker than Herring, w/ diffuse smudging; aurs darkest and solid; nape and aur edge may be lighter primarily white; dark smudge in front of eyes; faint fine mottling on crown; may have dusky streaks on nape as adult but w/ extensive smudging over entire head smudged gray over head, neck and upper breast; no streaking
UNDERPARTS: breast mottled, belly uniform sooty gray, about the same shade as the upperparts and wings; undt covs barred lower breast, belly, and vent mottled g-b; belly may be quite solid dark and contrast w/ white flanks; undt covs mottled light mottling on breast and belly white; upper breast smudging often shows delicate horizontal barring at close range
concolor or slightly darker than rest of wing and body; usually w/ pale edges, sometimes (on paler birds) with crescents large enough to have a dark subterm mark in them, or (on darker birds) w/o pale edges at all pale to med g-b, concolor w/ rest of wing, w/ thin white crescents as adult but w/ little or no A-spots tips adult gray; may be slightly darker than rest of wing but never black; A-spots larger that eye, but A10 same as eye
(in flight):
solid gray, concolor w/ rest of wing; paler and silvery from below quite pale above, making a white flash at base of Ps; virtually white from below similar to adult but smaller A-spots, mirrors, and tongues "black" areas are charcoal, slightly darker than mantle; large mirror on P10; small mirror rare on P9; thin to large blurred white tongues on P5-9; pattern light gray from below
(in flight):
similar to Ps ... as adult adult gray w/ white trailing edge; gray area shows light contrast from below; shows white skirt when standing
TERTIALS: same color as Ps; usually w/ large pale tip or subterm crescent; paler birds may have pale notches on sides pale g-b, concolor w/ Ps, w/ irregular white subterm marbling as adult adult gray w/ white crescent about 2/3 bill length
GREATER COVERTS: variably to mostly solid g-b w/ thin pale horizontal marbled lines w/ pale fringe and subterm spot; inner feathers more spotted pale g-b, speckled w/ tiny white spots, appearing marbled; often gray by 2S adult gray adult gray
LESSER & MED COVERTS: pale cream w/ med g-b sub-term marks, appearing mottled as greater covs, w/ wome adult gray color possible adult gray adult gray
SCAPULARS: as coverts, but w/ larger pale areas or adult gray, appearing paler and muddier as coverts, w/ more adult gray; may be all adult gray as adult adult gray w/ white crescent about 1/3 bill length
BACK: g-b, irregularly marked w/ pale fringes or adult gray; nearly uniform muddy look adult gray w/ brown areas and pale fringes adult gray adult gray is med gray, darker than smithson, lighter than californicus
RUMP: pale w/ irregular g-b bars white w/ some speckling white white
TAIL: solid gray as primaries, concolor w/ back; often w/ pale fringe; outermost webs rarely barred; may show mottled bases to outer retrices from below solid pale g-b; may show extensive pale mottling to bases of outer or all retrices white w/ jagged dark gray subterm band; outermost webs white white

The was table created by Steve Hampton and is intended to futher our knowledge of gull identification. Please email me at if you have any suggestions for updating or improving this table. Thanks.