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Immature Californian Gull
Larus californicus
Scientific classification
† see also: Tern, Noddy[?]
The gulls are seabirds in the family Laridae and subfamily Lari. They are closely related to the terns, and more distantly to the waders, auks and skimmers.


Most gulls belong to the large genus Larus.

They are in general medium to large birds, typically with grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have longish stout bills and webbed feet.

Most gulls, particularly in Larus, are ground nesting omnivores, which will take live food or scavenge opportunistically.

Apart from the kittiwakes, gulls are typically coastal or inland species, rarely venturing far out to sea. The large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls.

The taxonomy of the Herring Gull/Lesser Black-backed Gull complex is very complicated, different authorities recognising between two and eight species. This group has a ring distribution around the northern hemisphere. Differences between adjacent forms in this ring are fairly small, but by the time the circuit is completed, the end members, Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull, are clearly different species.

The species are:

Family: Laridae

  • Genus Larus
    • Dolphin Gull, Larus scoresbii
    • Pacific Gull, Larus pacificus
    • Belcher's Gull, Larus belcheri
    • Olrog's Gull, Larus atlanticus
    • Black-tailed Gull, Larus crassirostris
    • Grey Gull, Larus modestus
    • Heermann's Gull, Larus heermanni
    • White-eyed Gull, Larus leucophthalmus
    • Sooty Gull, Larus hemprichii
    • Common Gull[?] or Mew Gull, Larus canus
    • Audouin's Gull, Larus audouinii
    • Ring-billed Gull[?], Larus delawarensis
    • California Gull, Larus californicus
    • Great Black-backed Gull, Larus marinus
    • Kelp Gull, Larus dominicanus
    • Glaucous-winged Gull, Larus glaucescens
    • Western Gull, Larus occidentalis
    • Yellow-footed Gull, Larus livens
    • Glaucous Gull[?], Larus hyperboreus
    • Iceland Gull[?], Larus glaucoides
    • Thayer's Gull, Larus thayeri
    • Herring Gull[?], Larus argentatus
    • Yellow-legged Gull, Larus cachinnans
    • Armenian Gull, Larus armenicus
    • Slaty-backed Gull, Larus schistisagus
    • Lesser Black-backed[?] Gull, Larus fuscus
    • Great Black-headed Gull[?], Larus ichthyaetus
    • Brown-headed Gull, Larus brunnicephalus
    • Grey-headed Gull[?], Larus cirrocephalus
    • Hartlaub's Gull, Larus hartlaubii
    • Silver Gull, Larus novaehollandiae
    • Red-billed Gull, Larus scopulinus
    • Black-billed Gull, Larus bulleri
    • Brown-hooded Gull, Larus maculipennis
    • Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
    • Slender-billed Gull[?] Larus genei
    • Bonaparte's Gull[?], Larus philadelphia
    • Saunders' Gull, Larus saundersi
    • Andean Gull, Larus serranus
    • Mediterranean Gull, Larus melanocephalus
    • Relict Gull, Larus relictus
    • Lava Gull, Larus fuliginosus
    • Laughing Gull[?], Larus atricilla
    • Franklin's Gull, Larus pipixcan
    • Little Gull[?], Larus minutus
  • Genus Rissa
  • Genus Pagophila
  • Genus Rhodostethia
  • Genus Xema
  • Genus Creagus
    • Swallow-tailed Gull, Creagrus furcatus

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