Iceland Gull

Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides)
Iceland Gull – Juvenile

Iceland Gulls are medium-sized gulls from the arctic with pale gray backs and wings and are white elsewhere. Adults have slim yellow bills.

In winter they have pale brown mottling on their chests and head.

Juveniles are mottled light brown and white and then start to develop the gray color slowly and their bills change from black to yellow.

  • Larus glaucoides
  • Length: 19.7-23.6 in (50-60 cm)
  • Weight: 28.9-38.8 oz (820-1100 g)
  • Wingspan: 45.3-53.9 in (115-137 cm)


Iceland Gulls breed in the arctic and may move to the US and Canadian northern coasts in winter. Some spend winter in Iceland and the UK.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Iceland Gulls breeding on coastal cliffs in the arctic in summer. In winter they are found close to shore and beaches and may move south a little.

Iceland Gulls mainly eat fish but they will also eat mussels and snails and eggs and young of other birds.

Iceland Gull Calls:


Nests of Iceland Gulls are a bowl made from grass, moss, and vegetation material placed on a cliff ledge. Up to 100 birds will form a colony.

The female lays up to four eggs which take about 25 days to hatch. They look after their young for a further 6 or 7 weeks.

Fun Fact:

Iceland Gulls have 3 subspecies. In winter on the East Coast the ‘Kumliens’ form has white or pale gray wingtips, but on the West Coast the ‘Thayer’s’ form has darker wings and sometimes black wingtips and streaking on the head and neck.