This Asian species is a rare breeder in Western Alaska, and a winter vagrant throughout North America. In all plumages: Legs are dark pink, bill is fairly heavy, but not bulging at the gonys, primaries show dark outer webs and paler inner webs. Wing tips extend just beyond tail. Alternate Adult: Slate-gray mantle, broad white tips on tertials and secondaries, and white tips on black primaries. Bill is yellow with a red gonydeal spot. The eye is ivory to pale yellow, with a pink orbital ring. In Flight: White spots on the primaries separate the gray mantle color from the black primary tips. The undersides of the primaries are gray, not black. The secondaries and tertials show a broad white trailing edge. Basic Adult: Extensive brown streaking on the head and neck, coalescing around the eye, forming a "smudged mascara" look. First Cycle: Gray-brown overall with indistinct patterning. The pale gray back has dark shaft streaks or dark feather centers. During first winter, head bleaches to whitish, and wing coverts (especially greater coverts) appear quite plain and whitish. Dark bill starts to develop pale base. Second Cycle: Slate-gray starts to appear on back, with white mottling on the scapulars. The primaries are blackish, but the wing coverts are quite pale. The eye is usually pale by this age. The bill is increasingly pale on the basal two-thirds. Third Cycle: Similar to adult, but shows brownish wash on wing coverts, some black on the tail, and a black subterminal band on the bill.
Length: 56 (cm) Wingspan: 147 (cm)
Nest on sea cliffs, rocky islands, sandy beaches. In winter, found on coasts, lakeshores, urban waterways, dumps.
Out-of-range birds may be found anywhere there are concentrations of larger pink-footed gulls.
Like other large gulls, this species is an opportunist utilizing flooded pastures, mudflats, and dumps.
Expanded Life History
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