Herring Gull

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.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 02 June 2007
Scientific Name
Larus argentatus
  • Charadriiformes
  • Laridae
  • Larus
  • L. argentatus
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 20 March 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
22 to 26 inches
54 to 57.5 inches
28 to 44 ounces


International Names

Chinese (汉语) 银鸥
Czech (Cesky) Racek Stříbřitý
Danish (Dansk) Sølvmåge
Dutch (Nederlands) Zilvermeeuw
Finnish (Suomi) Harmaalokki
French (Français) Goéland argenté
German (Deutsch) Silbermöwe
Italian (Italiano) Larus argentatus
Japanese (日本語) セグロカモメ (Segurokamome)
Korean (한국어) 재갈매기 (Jaegalmaegi)
Norwegian (Norsk) Gråmåke
Polish (Polski) Gaivota prateada
Russian (русский язык) Серебристая чайка
Spanish (Español) Larus argentatus
Swedish (Svenska) Gråtrut
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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