Western Gull Larus occidentalis



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Photos from this Account

Breeding adult

Large white-headed gull with a heavy bill and pink legs. Breeding adults have a dark gray back, on orange ring around the eye, and a red spot on the lower bill.

Nonbreeding adult

Large white-headed gull with a slaty gray back. Nonbreeding birds have very little streaking on the neck, unlike other gull species of the same age.

Third winter

Third-winter Western Gulls have a smudgy head and neck. Their wingtips are entirely dark, lacking the white spots seen on adults. Note the heavy bulbous-shaped bill with a dark band across the tip.

Second winter

Second-winter Western Gulls have a slaty gray back and light brown mottled wings. The underparts and head are mostly white.

Second winter

Second-winter birds have a mostly white head and underparts with slaty gray feathers coming in on the back and light brown wings. Note bulbous-shaped bill and pink legs.

First winter

First-winter birds are heavily mottled in gray and brown with dark primaries. The extent of brown smudging on the breast varies among individuals. This individual has a fairly advanced molt with a whiter head and underparts.

First winter

Large gull with a heavy bulbous bill and pink legs. First-winter birds are mottled brown and white in various amounts. This individual shows considerable brown smudging on the head and underparts.


Juveniles are gray-brown below with checkered back and wings. Note pink legs, heavy bill, and large size.

Breeding adult

In flight, note broad wings with a narrow white trailing edge and small white spots on the outer primaries. The darker wingtips blend gradually into the slaty gray wings and back.

Breeding adult

From below, note the gray secondaries and narrow white trailing edge.


On flying juveniles note the dark tail, pale barred rump, and dark brown primaries and secondaries.


Breeds on rocky islands and forages in intertidal areas, harbors, beaches, garbage dumps, fields, and other areas with easy access to food.

Recommended Citation

Western Gull (Larus occidentalis), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/wesgul