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Herring Gull

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  • Catharus guttatus
  • Thrushes & Mimids

About the Herring Gull

The Herring Gull is a large species of gull which breeds across North America, Europe and Asia. Some of them, especially those in colder areas, migrate further south in winter, but in many locations they are permanent year-round residents.

In some taxonomies, the American Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus) is listed as a separate species from the European Herring Gull (Larus argentatus).

The Herring Gull's loud, laughing call is well-known in the northern hemisphere. Adult Herring Gulls are similar to Ring-billed Gulls in appearance, but Herrings are much larger, have pinkish legs, and a much thicker yellow bill with more pronounced gonys (the ridge in the middle of the gull's lower beak).

Ageing Herring Gulls can be tricky. First-winter birds (in their first year of life) are quite brown, but second and third-winter birds can be confusing, since soft part (bare skin) colors are variable and third-year Herring Gulls often show a ring around the bill. Such birds are most easily distinguished from Ring-billed and other species by the larger size and larger bill of Herring Gull.

The population status for both L. smithsonianus and L. argentatus is considered to be Least Concern as of November 2014.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 02 June 2007
Scientific Name Larus argentatus
  • Charadriiformes
  • Laridae
  • Larus
  • L. argentatus
Birdorable Family Terns & Gulls
Conservation Status Least Concern
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 15 January 2017)
Measurements
Units: Imperial Metric
22 to 26 inches
54 to 57.5 inches
28 to 44 ounces
Range West Europe East Europe North Europe South Europe West Asia Central Asia East Asia Central Africa East Africa South Africa Arctic

International Names

  • 银鸥 (Chinese)
  • Racek Stříbřitý (Czech)
  • Sølvmåge (Danish)
  • Zilvermeeuw (Dutch)
  • Harmaalokki (Finnish)
  • Goéland argenté (French)
  • Silbermöwe (German)
  • Larus argentatus (Italian)
  • セグロカモメ (Segurokamome) (Japanese)
  • 재갈매기 (Jaegalmaegi) (Korean)
  • Gråmåke (Norwegian)
  • Gaivota prateada (Polish)
  • Серебристая чайка (Russian)
  • Larus argentatus (Spanish)
  • Gråtrut (Swedish)

Related articles

Baby Birdorable: Herring Gull

Baby Birdorable: Herring Gull

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr) of the Herring Gull. Herring Gulls lay their ... more