Glaucous Gull

Larus hyperboreus

Faoileán glas

Status:  Scarce winter visitor to all Irish coasts from October to April.

Conservation Concern: Green-listed in Ireland, while the European population has been assessed as Secure.

Identification: Larger than Herring Gull, approaching Great Black-backed Gull in size. Very similar to both Herring and Iceland Gulls. Adult summer Glaucous Gulls are similar to Herring Gull, except for the white wing-tips. Adult winter Glaucous Gulls have extensive dark streaking on the head and neck, but are otherwise the same as adult summer birds. First-winter Glaucous Gulls are a dark chocolate brown all over, though the wings are usually slightly paler. Has a long, mainly pink bill with an obvious black tip. As with Iceland Gull, first-winter Glaucous Gulls tend to fade towards a whiter plumage over the winter. Second-winter birds are heavily streaked brown all over, but also retain a lot of white in plumage, as well as the distinctive bill pattern. Third-winter Glaucous Gulls are very similar to adult winter birds, but have some faded brown markings on the wing. See Iceland Gull for more details on separating these two very similar species.

Similar Species: Herring Gull and Iceland Gull

Call: Similar to that of the Herring Gull.

Diet: Omnivorous, scavenging around rubbish tips and harbours.

Breeding: Does not breed in Ireland. Glaucous Gulls breed in Iceland, Greenland, northern Canada and Siberia.

Wintering: This species winters only marginally south of its breeding range and fewer are seen Ireland in most winters than Iceland Gulls.

Where to See: Regular sites for this species include Nimmo’s Pier in Galway and Killybegs in Donegal.

Monitored by
: Irish Wetland Bird Survey and BirdTrack.


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