CALIFORNIA GULL


Larus californicus


Description:

The California Gull is the Utah state bird. These birds saved the state by gobbling up the Rocky mountain crickets, which were destroying the crops in 1848. Mono Lake in northern california is a breeding ground for this bird.


Appearance:

General: 17 inches in length.

Summer Adult:
Dark gray back and upperwings. White head, tail and underparts. Yellow bill with red and black spot near the tip. Yellow legs and feet. Dark eyes. Long, white spot on first primary and black wingtips.

First Year:
All brown plumage. Dark brown wings. Dark tail. Black bill that develops a pale pink base. Black legs that become pink. Pale rump with dark bars.

Second Year:
Pale head, neck, upper breast, and belly with brown streaking. Greenish-yellow bill with black tip. Gray back. Dark brown primaries, dull brown upperwing coverts. White tail with dark terminal band.

Third Year:
Similar to summer adult, but may lack bill and wing patterns. May have a partial tail band.


Habitat:

Coastal shores, parks, and cities. Inland lakes during breeding.


Nesting:

2-3 buff-olive eggs heavily marked with blotches and a 23-27 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 45 days after hatching. The nest is made from grass, dried weeds, and sticks. Breeds in large colonies on islands in inland lakes.


Observed Locations:

  • Mission Bay, San Diego





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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.