Mew Gull Larus canus



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Photos from this Account

Breeding adult (American)

Small white-headed gull with a little yellow bill and yellow legs. Head looks very round and petite. Breeding adults have a red ring around the eye.

Nonbreeding adult (American)

Small to medium-sized gull with a little yellow bill and a round head. Nonbreeding adults have smudgy tan marks on the head and neck.

First winter (American)

First-winter birds start to acquire pale gray back feathers, but are otherwise tan with white fringing. Note small bicolored bill.

Juvenile (American)

Juveniles are pale brown with white feather edging. Note dark barring on the undertail coverts.

Nonbreeding adult (American)

Nonbreeding adults in flight show large white spots on the primaries.

First winter (American)

First-winter birds have dark flight feathers, a pale rump, and brown tail feathers with lighter brown tips.

Nonbreeding adult (European)

Nonbreeding European forms look very similar to the American forms, but have more black on the wingtips and don't have a pale gray band on the tail (not visible in this photo). Note round head and small bill.

First winter (European)

The European form of the Mew Gull has a paler head and underparts. In flight they have a white rump and upper tail, and a black band on the tip of the tail.

Nonbreeding adult (European)

European birds have more black on the wingtips than American birds, but this difference can be difficult to judge in the field.

Nonbreeding adult (Kamchatka)

The East Asian form of Mew Gull, known as "Kamchatka Gull" is larger, with a larger bill.


Breeds in marine and freshwater environments including tundra, marshy areas, ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams. Frequently gathers along streams, lakeshores, and coastal mudflats.

Recommended Citation

Mew Gull (Larus canus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: