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Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species ranges from northern Mexico in the Gulf of California and on the western coast of Baja California, up the Pacific coast of North America to Alaska, across the Aleutian Islands (USA) to the northern coast of Japan. Its breeding range begins on the coast of Washington (USA), through Canada and Alaska to the Commander Islands (Russia) (del Hoyo et al. 1996)
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Range

Bering Sea to nw Oregon; winters to Japan and nw Mexico.

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Geographic Range

Larus glaucescens nests on rocky cliffs among the seabird colonies of the coastal northern Pacific, from Alaska and the Aleutians south to northern Washington state. Winters from southern Alaska to south along the Pacific coast as far as Baja California, occasionally in the eastern Hawaiian islands (Godfrey 1986).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: BREEDS: coastally from Alaska and islands of St. Lawrence, Pribilofs, Aleutians south to northwestern Oregon and Commander Islands. WINTERS: southeastern Alaska south along Pacific coast to southern Baja California; in Asia, Bering Islands to Japan; fairly frequent in northwestern Hawaii; casually inland in Alberta, Idaho, western Arizona, Manitoba, and Oklahoma; regular in southern Nevada (Lake Mead); recently reported from Utah (Fischer 1988).

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Adults of L. glaucescens have a body length of 24-27 inches, and a wingspan of around 54 inches, males larger than females. Adults are white with a pale grey back (hence specific name glaucescens: Latin for greying, from Greek glaukos, blue-grey). Wings are also pale grey, with small white patches. Large, heavy yellow bill with red spot. Skin around eyes purplish pink, iris silver to yellow powdered with brown, giving a dark appearance. Juvenile birds have a dark bill, and mottled grey plumage (Hoffman et al. 1978; Godfrey 1986)

Average mass: 908 g.

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Size

Length: 66 cm

Weight: 1010 grams

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species can be found in coastal areas and over shelf waters. Its diet is comprised of fish, various marrine invertebrates, carrion, offal, bird eggs and small mammals, with the exact composition varying depending on locality. It uses a variety of feeding methods, including plunge-diving, diving from the surface and dropping shellfish on rocks. It arrives at breeding colonies between February and March, and will nest on a wide variety of substrates including rocky islands, cliffs, inland lakes, city parks and buildings. It is usually colonial but can be solitary. Some birds remain on their territories over winter, but others will migrate to the southern edges of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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L. glaucescens lives primarily in the vicinity of salt or brackish water along coasts: bays, estuaries, islands, beaches, mud flats, and nearby offshore. It can also be found around wharves, dumps, fish canneries, and fishing boats. It sometimes follows rivers, but is not normally found very far inland (Godfrey 1986).

Aquatic Biomes: coastal

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Depth range based on 33987 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 440 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 10.712 - 17.102
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.071 - 4.675
  Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 33.496
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.549 - 6.587
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.330 - 0.800
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 16.169

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 10.712 - 17.102

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.071 - 4.675

Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 33.496

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.549 - 6.587

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.330 - 0.800

Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 16.169
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Comments: Coastal waters; shores, cliffs, rock ledges, grassy slopes, beaches, harbors of coastal cities, dumps. Nests coastally, on cliffs, rocks, grassy slopes, mostly on offshore rocks and islands; preference for sandbar islands, flat tops of rugged islands, or beaches. On estuarine islands in Washington and Oregon, nesting concentrated in areas where driftwood scattered throughout grass-forb communities (Spendelow and Patton 1988); among colonies of other seabirds.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Summer and winter ranges overlap Alaska-Oregon; migratory status in that area?

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

L. glaucescens is omnivorous, feeding on carrion, fish, invertebrates, seaweed, and food stolen from other marine birds (pelicans, cormorants, sea ducks). During periods of lowest tidal heights mussels and barnacles comprise much of their diet, but at other times sea urchins, chitons, and limpets are preferentially gathered. Barnacles, sea urchins, molluscs, and other resistant food items are gathered from the shore and dropped onto rocks from the air to crack them open. In the vicinity of humans L. glaucescens will scavenge garbage from docks, dumps, and shores, and follow fishing vessels. It may also forage over the open ocean, but rarely to more than a few miles offshore (Murphy et al. 1984; Irons et al. 1986).

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Comments: Surface feeder, scavenger. Fishes, mollusks, crustaceans, garbage and carrion.

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Associations

Known prey organisms

Larus glaucescens preys on:
Pollicipes polymerus
Podilymbus podiceps

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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General Ecology

Washington and British Columbia: first-year survival was lowest September-November; survival rate was 61, 80, and 85% for first year, 2nd year, and adults, respectively (Reid 1988).

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
297 months.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 32 years (wild)
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Reproduction

L. glaucescens nests in large colonies, especially in Alaska, but also in smaller colonies to the south. Adult birds frequently return to the same colony year after year, often re-pairing with a mate from the previous year. The nest is a mound of dried plants and seaweed, sometimes fish bones and feathers, built amongst ground cover of low islands or rocky ledges of higher islands or headlands. A single brood is laid from late May to July, consisting of 2-3 buff or olive-buff eggs marked with darker brown spots. The eggs are incubated for 26-28 days. Chicks are first capable of flight around 35-54 days after hatching, attaining a fully adult plumage in the fourth year. Individual birds have been observed to live for twenty years (Campbell 1968; Murphy et al. 1984; Verbeek 1985).

Average time to hatching: 27 days.

Average eggs per season: 3.

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Usually a clutch of 2-3 eggs is laid from late May into July; mean laying date is around 1st of June in western Gulf of Alaska. Incubation lasts 26-29 days. Reproductive success varies with food availability/quality (Murphy et al. 1984). Young depart nest at 40-45 days, can fly at 35-54 days, according to various reports. In Washington and British Columbia, age of first reproduction was 4-7 years in both sexes; most individuals had same mate in successive years (Reid 1988). Nests in large or small colonies; up to several thousand birds in Washington colonies (Spendelow and Patton 1988).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Larus glaucescens

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 4 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CCTATACTTAATTTTTGGCGCATGAGCTGGCATAGTAAGTACTGCCCTCAGCCTGCTTATCCGTGCAGAACTTGGCCAACCCGGAACCCTCCTAGGAGACGACCAAATCTATAACGTAATTGTCACCGCCCATGCCTTCGTGATAATCTTCTTCATAGTGATACCAATCATGATCGGTGGGTTTGGAAACTGACTAGTCCCACTTATAATCGGTGCCCCTGATATAGCATTTCCACGCATAAACAACATAAGCTTCTGACTATTACCCCCATCATTCCTACTCCTCCTAGCCTCTTCCACAGTAGAAGCTGGAGCCGGCACAGGATGAACAGTATACCCCCCTCTAGCTGGCAATCTAGCTCATGCTGGAGCCTCAGTAGACCTAGCAATCTTCTCTCTTCACTTAGCAGGTGTGTCTTCCATTCTGGGTGCTATCAACTTTATCACTACAGCCATCAACATAAAACCCCCTGCCCTCTCACAATATCAAACCCCACTATTCGTATGATCCGTACTCATCACTGCCGTCCTATTACTACTTTCACTCCCAGTGCTTGCCGCAGGCATTACTATGCTACTTACAGACCGAAACCTAAACACAACATTCTTCGATCCCGCCGGAGGCGGNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Larus glaucescens

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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L. glaucescens winters in coastal Pacific waters to the southern Baja, and though it is not threatened in any of these areas it is protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The population of L. glaucescens has increased around three and a half times in the last 50 years, mostly due to accessibility of human wastes (Verbeek 1985).

US Migratory Bird Act: protected

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5B,N5N : N5B: Secure - Breeding, N5N: Secure - Nonbreeding

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Population

Population
The global population is estimated to number > c.570,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006), while the population in Russia has been estimated at c.100-10,000 breeding pairs and c.50-1,000 individuals on migration (Brazil 2009).

Population Trend
Increasing
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Being a scavenger on human wastes, L. glaucescens can be considered a pest in areas of high population, but never to any harmful level.

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Wikipedia

Glaucous-winged Gull

The Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) is a large, white-headed gull residing from the western coast of Alaska to the coast of Washington. It also breeds on the northwest coast of Alaska, in the summertime. During non-breeding seasons they can be found along the coast of California. It is a close relative of the Western Gull and frequently hybridizes with it, resulting in identification problems—particularly in the Puget Sound area. This species also hybridizes regularly with the Herring Gull in Alaska. Both hybrid combinations resemble the Thayer's Gull. Glaucous-winged Gulls are thought to live about 15 years. An adult bird returned to Sea World in San Diego each winter for 17 years. One individual, notable because he had only one leg, lived at least 30.[citation needed]

The Glaucous-winged Gull is rarely found far from saltwater. It is a large bird, being close in size to the Herring Gull, with which it has a superficial resemblance, and the Western Gull, to which it is likely most closely related. It measures 50–68 cm (20–27 in) in length and 120–150 cm (47–59 in), with a body mass of 730–1,690 g (1.61–3.73 lb).[2][3][4] It weighs around 1,010 g (2.23 lb) on average.[3] Among standard measurements, the wing chord is 39.2 to 48 cm (15.4 to 18.9 in), the bill is 4.6 to 6.4 cm (1.8 to 2.5 in) and the tarsus is 5.8 to 7.8 cm (2.3 to 3.1 in).[4] It has a white head, neck, breast, and belly, a white tail, and pearly-gray wings and back. The term glaucous describes its colouration. The ends of its wings are white-tipped. Its legs are pink and the beak is yellow with a red subterminal spot. The forehead is somewhat flat. During the winter, the head and nape appears dusky, and the subterminal spot becomes dark. Young birds are brown or gray with black beaks, and take four years to reach full plumage.

Glaucous-winged gull, juvenile

The Glaucous-winged Gull nests in the summer, and each pair produces two or three chicks which fledge at six weeks.

It feeds along the coast, scavenging for dead or weak animals, fish, mussels and scraps. Its cry is a low-pitched "kak-kak-kak" or "wow", or a more high-pitched wailing.

It is an exceptionally rare vagrant to the Western Palearctic region, with records from Morocco, the Canary Islands and, most recently, from Britain in the winters of 2006/2007 and 2008/2009. The 2008/2009 record was from Saltholme Pools, Cleveland, and attracted hundreds of twitchers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Larus glaucescens". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ [1] (2011).
  3. ^ a b CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses by John B. Dunning Jr. (Editor). CRC Press (1992), ISBN 978-0-8493-4258-5.
  4. ^ a b Gulls: Of North America, Europe, and Asia by Klaus Malling Olsen & Hans Larsson. Princeton University Press (2004). ISBN 978-0691119977.

Further reading[edit]

Identification[edit]

  • King, Jon (2007) Identification of Glaucous-winged Gull: a photo-gallery Birding World 20(2):64-72
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Closely related to other species within the Larus californicus complex; this complex poses one of the most complicated problems in ornithological systematics today. Hybridizes with L. occidentalis in southern British Columbia to western Oregon, withL. argentatus (on a limited basis) in south-coastal and southeastern Alaska, and with L. schistisagus in Kamchatka (AOU 1998).

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