In all plumages, this unique gull shows a long thin bill that droops at the tip, a striking wing pattern, and a forked tail. The eyes are very large and dark. Adult Alternate: The head is black with a bold red eye ring. The black bill has a gray tip and a white spot at the base of the upper mandible. Breast and upper back pale gray, darkening to smoky gray on the scapulars and wing coverts. White tips form a thin white line along the edge of the scapulars. The primaries are black with white inner webs. The remaining underparts and tail are white. Legs and feet are reddish-pink. Adult Basic: Similar to adult alternate, but the head is white with a black smudge around the eye and lacks red eye ring. Bill is black with pale gray tip. Legs and feet are paler pink. Adult in flight: Upperwings mostly white, with gray wing coverts and black and white primaries. Undersides of wings white, but upperwing pattern is visible through the feathers. Juvenile/First Cycle: Head and underparts white, except for black smudge around eye, small gray spot on the auriculars, and gray mottling on sides of breast. Upperparts mottled dark brown and white. Tail is white with black terminal band. The bill is all black. In flight, similar to adult, but with more black in the primaries and primary coverts, and dark mottling on wing coverts.
Length: 56 (cm) Wingspan: (cm)
Open ocean. Breeds on rocky islands that contain cliffs, caves, or crevices.
This is the only gull that feeds at night.
Feeds on fish and squid near the surface of the water.
Expanded Life History
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