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Glaucous Gull


First Cycle
Second Cycle


GLAUCOUS GULL(26-30"; 56-60") hyperboreous, barrovianus

BILL SHAPE: very long and straight; 4-6x eye diameter; thicker than Herring; gon angle small
HEAD SHAPE: moderately sloped forehead; long flat to rounded crown; steeply curved nape; heavy brow
WING EXTENSTION: short; less than half bill length; longer on barrovianus
POSTURE/HABITS: barrovianus is slightly smaller, closer to Herring in size and shape
BILL COLOR: fleshy pink w/ square-cut black tip; black may extend slightly along cutting edge flesh to yellowish w/ black tip and pale extreme tip yellow w/ dark irreg subterm band; may have some gon spot yellow to bright yellow w/ pale tip; gon spot pale orange to orange-red
LEG COLOR: pale flesh pink pale to bright pink pale to bright pink
IRIS/ORB RING: dark often pale; may be dark pale yellow pale yellow; orb ring yellow-orange to yellow-pink; red possible in Alaska
HEAD: covered w/ thin pale g-b streaks, so close as to appear rather solid; palest around bill; broken white eye ring variably streaked; may appear whitish or uniform pale g-b; similar to 1W as adult but streaking usually more extensive head and neck extensively covered w/ dense brown to orange-brown streaks, thicker on neck; dark mark in front of eye; broken white eye ring; most white by Mar; N. Amer. birds whiter-headed, some w/ only a shawl of heavy streaks around collar, or nearly all white
UNDERPARTS: breast delicately marbled; belly solid pale g-b; undt covs strongly barred breast mottled; belly more solidly mottled; undt covs barred variably pale g-b mottling on breast and belly white; head streaking may come across upper breast
variable; usually paler than rest of wing; nearly white to creamy g-b w/ pale edges; may have pale subterm chevron w/ tiny dark spot in tip white; may have pale g-b interior areas white; may have pale g-b interior areas all white; some adult gray may show if feather bases are exposed
(in flight):
paler than rest of wing, nearly white; translucent from below outer Ps often g-b on outer webs and tips, otherwise white; translucent from below as adult, but may have some pale g-b; translucent from below extensive white tips on P7-10, occupying 1/5 to ½ of feather tip; translucent from below
(in flight):
similar to Ps; may show tiny dark subterm marks from above similar to Ps as adult adult gray w/ broad white trailing edge about ½ bill length; may show white skirt when standing
TERTIALS: variable; white w/ dark bars, loops, or other small g-b marks; any solid areas very small white w/ pale g-b wash or marbling adult gray w/ variable g-b marbling adult gray w/ broad white crescent about 1/3 to ½ bill length
GREATER COVERTS: pale cream w/ g-b spots, appearing irreg barred white w/ pale g-b wash or marbling, esp on inners adult gray but w/ extensive washes of pale g-b adult gray
LESSER & MED COVERTS: white w/ faint to mod g-b subterm U or V-shaped mark, appearing irreg checkered white w/ faded g-b wash or marbling adult gray mixed w/ some pale g-b adult gray
SCAPULARS: like L&M covs white w/ faded g-b wash or irreg marks; some adult gray feathers adult gray adult gray w/ small white crescent
BACK: like L&M covs similar to scaps adult gray adult gray is very pale gray, paler than all Herrings; barrovianus slightly darker
RUMP: white w/ strong pale g-b bars white w/ faded g-b bars white w/ some pale g-b marks white
TAIL: extensively marbled or irreg barred pale g-b and white; often w/ pale g-b subterm band white w/ g-b wash or marbling; much paler than 1W white w/ extensive pale g-b wash or marbling 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.