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Swallow-tailed Gull Creagrus furcatus


The Swallow-tailed Gull is one of the most distinctive and aberrant species in its family. Though superficially similar in appearance to other species, certain aspects of its biology are quite distinctive. It breeds mainly on the Galapagos Islands and one island off Colombia and when not breeding travels along the off shore waters of South America’s Pacific coast from central Colombia to central Chile. It breeds asynchronously all year long in many different colonies located on steep slopes or broken cliffs. While breeding, both parents remain at the nest during the day, alternating brooding duties. At night the non-brooding parent will take to sea and forage the entire night for squid. This is the most nocturnal gull and its large eyes are specifically adapted for this strategy. In further contrast to almost all other gulls which will return to their natal colony to breed, at the onset of their first breeding cycle Swallow-tailed Gulls will find a new breeding colony.

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© Oliver H. Hewitt

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: