The Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) is a large gull. Adults are white with gray back and wings, black wingtips with white spots, and pink legs. Immature birds are gray-brown.
It occurs in a variety of habitats including coasts, lakes, rivers and garbage dumps. Its broad diet includes invertebrates, fish, and many other items. It usually nests near water, laying around three eggs in a scrape on the ground. [Wikipedia]
Spiraling above a fishing boat or squabbling at a dock or parking lot, Herring Gulls are the quintessential gray-and-white, pink-legged “seagulls.” They’re the most familiar gulls of the North Atlantic and can be found across much of coastal North America in winter. A variety of plumages worn in their first four years can make identification tricky—so begin by learning to recognize their beefy size and shape. [All About Birds]
Herring Gull Facts [All About Birds]
- Herring Gulls are one of the most familiar gulls of the East Coast and many people just call them “seagulls.” In fact, some two dozen different species of gulls live in North America, and they present almost endless opportunities for identification.
- Herring Gulls prefer drinking freshwater, but they’ll drink seawater when they must. Special glands located over the eyes allow them to excrete the salt that would otherwise dehydrate most animals, including us. The salty excretion can be seen dripping out of their nostrils and off the ends of their bills.
- Sibling rivalry is a problem in the bird world, too. The third chick in a Herring Gull clutch can have it especially tough. While the first two chicks hatch the same day, the third is born a day or two later, weighs less, gets less food, and grows more slowly.
- The oldest recorded Herring Gull was at least 29 years, 3 months old when it was seen in the wild in Michigan in 2015 and identified by its band. It had been banded in Wisconsin in 1986.