Larus hyperboreus (Gunnerus, 1767)
Family: Charadriiformes > Laridae
The largely white adult and biscuit-coloured immature Glaucous Gulls are winter visitors to the coasts of Britain & Ireland.
The species breeds around the coasts of the high arctic archipelagos of Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Iceland and Greenland. Many individuals remain close to their breeding grounds throughout the year and even when conditions are tough, may only move as far as the edge of the arctic ice. During prolonged periods of poor weather further north and west, Glaucous Gulls can arrive in Britain & Ireland in force. It is hardly surprising that the majority of records come from the north, with some northern harbours hosting small flocks of Glaucous Gulls in some years.
BTO Online Ringing report recoveries come from Iceland, Svalbard, Norway and Bear Island.
Glaucous Gull identification is often straightforward. The following article may help when identifying Glaucous Gull.
The latest identification video tackles the difficult pair of gulls, Iceland and Glaucous. March is one of the best months of the year to catch up with wandering gulls as they make their way back to their summer haunts.
Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Glaucous Gull, provided by xeno-canto contributors.
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Status and Trends
Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.
This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.
Glaucous Gulls are regular winter visitors to Britain & Ireland, with a wide scatter of records around the coast of Britain, though they are scarcer on the west coast of England and Wales. They are widely recorded across the Northern Isles and the Outer Hebrides. In Ireland they are found mainly around the coast, especially in the west, with few records inland.
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in winter||463|
|% occupied in winter||15|
European Distribution Map
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)||+7.2%|
Glaucous Gulls are usually winter visitors, most often recorded in late winter.
Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.
Lifecycle and body size information about Glaucous Gull, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report
|Maximum Age from Ringing||17 years 4 months 7 days (set in 2003)|
|Field Codes||2-letter: GZ | 5-letter code: GLAGU | Euring: 5990|
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