Gray/Grey Gull

ANIMAL:
Gray/Grey Gull Leucophaeus modestus

Type of Animal:
Gull/Tern

Habitat:
Sandy beaches, mudflats, desert, river mouths, rocky coasts, flat coastal plains covered w/ small rocks, coastal areas

Location(s):
Pacific coast of C & S America from Costa Rica to Chile. Breeds in Chile’s Atacama Desert as well as occasionally in coastal areas. Vagrant in Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, South Sandwich Islands, Brazil, & Mexico.

Appearance:
Gray body/wings-dorsal surface darker than ventral region, black flight feathers, inner primaries/secondaries have white tips, tail has black band w/ white trailing edge, black legs/slender bill, brown iris, white head in summer, brownish-gray head in winter

Food/Diet:
Small crabs, fish, carrion, refuse, offal, worms, rodents, eggs, birds, insects, insect larvae, amphibians, reptiles, fruit, seeds

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos, aquariums, & wildlife parks

Lifestyle:
Breeding colonies number 100-24,000 birds. Feeding/foraging flocks quite large, easily numbering in hundreds or thousands.

Additional Info:

Called:
Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Colony
 
Weight:
13-14 oz

Gestation:
1 month

Life Span:
10-20 years

Height:
1.5 ft

Body Length:
1.5 ft

Tail Length:
1 in

Main predators are raptors, dogs, cats, foxes, & sea lions.
 
Also called Garuma Gull.
 
Nests usually found in sand scrapes & near rocks.
 
Females lay 1-3 eggs & when eggs hatch, parents take turns making round trips to sea to bring food/water.
 
Communicate w/ yelping “kyow”, growled rising “grrraaahh,” & low moans/shrill cries.
 
Partially nocturnal in nesting season.
 
Nest site approval shown by both partners displaying w/ head close to ground mimicking regurgitation.
 
Sexually mature at around 2 years old, which is when adult plumage comes in.
 
Chicks typically fledge at 5 weeks old.
 
Breed between November & January.
 
Egg shells thick due to dry environment they’re laid in.

Fun Fact(s):
Breeding grounds of this species only discovered in 1945 due to remoteness.
 
Have largest eyes of any gull.

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