California Gull

photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC

California Gulls can be found in summer on inland lakes and marshes from southern Northwest Territories through Alberta, Saskatchewan, southwest Manitoba, and the northern parts of Montana and North Dakota. In winter they can be found along the Pacific coast. Some can be found year-round in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. They breed on islands and levees on inland lakes and rivers and forage in any open area, from farms and pastures to garbage dumps.

Gulls are long-winged, white birds with gray and black markings. It can be difficult to tell them apart as they take up to 4 years to develop their adult plumage. In addition, gulls often mate with each other, so there are hybrids with characteristics of two species.

California Gull are a medium-sized bird (18.5-21 in) with a long yellow bill with a black band and a red spot near the tip.

Could it be? Herring Gull are larger than California Gull with a thicker beak. Ring-billed Gull are smaller with thinner bills that don't have a red dot.

Did you know? Young California Gulls learn how to catch food by dropping a stick in mid-air and swooping down to catch it.

See Also: Glaucous-winged Gull, Herring Gull, Mew Gull, Ring-billed Gull