Larines: 'White-headed' & 'Band-tailed' Gulls: Larus

'White-headed' Gulls

Genus Larus

  • Yellow-legged Gull Larus  michaellis. Three subspecies:
    • Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull, L. m. michaellis. Southern Europe, Mediterranean, western France and Morocco.
    • Cantabrican Gull L. m. lusitanicus. North-western Spain and Portugal. Dubious subspecies.
  • Herring gull Larus argentatus, two subspecies:
    • Scandinavian Herring Gull L. a. argentatus. Scandinavia, Finland, south-east Baltic to White Sea.
    • (L. a. omissus). Invalid subspecies, an aberrant form of argentatus. Inland eastern Baltic, Finland and North-west Russia.
    • L. a. argenteus. Iceland, north-western Europe.
  • Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus. North Atlantic coasts
  • Armenian gull Larus armenicus. Armenian lakes, eastern Turkey, north-west Iran.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus. North-eastern Atlantic, expanding to North America, three subspecies:
    • Baltic Gull L. f. fuscus. Baltic, northern Norway to White Sea.
    • L. f. intermedius. Southern Norway, Sweden, Denmark and north-west Spain.
    • L. f. graellsii. Iceland, British Isles, Faeroes, Netherlands, France and Spain.

Herring Gull
Larus argentatus argenteus

The Netherlands
Culmen: 53.6 mm; total: 118.3 mm.
Unsexed adult

Mediterranean Yellow-legged Gull
Larus michaellis michaellis

Agde, France
Culmen: 56.9 mm; total: 120.8 mm.
Unsexed adult

Lesser Black-backed Gull
Larus fuscus graellsii

Terschelling, The Netherlands
Culmen: 54.3 mm; total: 117.0 mm,
Adult male

Great Black-backed Gull
Larus marinus
Oude Bildtzijl, The Netherlands
Culmen: 64.1 mm; total: 148.9.
Unsexed adult

  • Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans. Three subspecies:
    • Caspian Gull L. c. cachinnans. Around Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Kazachstan.
    • Steppe or Baraba Gull L. c. barabensis. Central Asian steppes.
    • Mongolian Gull L. c. mongolicus, east Altai to Lake Baikal and Mongolia.
  • Heuglin's Gull Larus heuglini, two subspecies:
    • L. h. heuglini. White Sea, Kara Sea to NW India and Gulf of Aden
    • L. h. taimyrensis. Siberia
  • East Siberian Herring or Vega Gull Larus vegae. Northern Siberia, Bering Sea to China
  • Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus. Southern Hemisphere : two subspecies:
    • Kelp or Southern black-backed Gull L. d. dominicanus. Circumpolar Southern Hemisphere
    • Cape Gull L. d. vetula. South Africa. Recently spreading northward.
  • Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens. Western North America
  • California Gull Larus californicus. Two subspecies:
    • L. c. californicus. Western North America, inland and coastal.
    • L. c. albertaensis. Southern NW Territories, northern Great Plains, Alberta to Manitoba.

Glaucous-winged Gull
Larus glaucescens
Crescent City, Cal., USA.
Culmen: 62.4; total: 132.5 mm.
Unsexed 3rd summer

Californian Gull
Larus californicus
Rockaway Beach, Or., USA
Culmen: 41.9 mm; total: 96.3 mm.
Adult female (small individual)

  • American Herring Gull L. smithsonianus. North America.
  • Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus: Three subspecies:
    • L. h. hyperboreus. North America towards Arctic Sea, Taimyr, Siberia.
    • L. h. barrovianus. Alaska, winters to California.
    • L. h. pallidssimus. East Siberia between Taimyr and Bering Sea
    • (L. h. leucrectes): invalid subspecies.
  • Thayer's Gull L.  thayeri. Breeding Arctic Canada, western Greenland, wintering Pacific coast down to Baja California.
  • Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides: two subspecies:
    • Iceland Gull L. g. glaucoides. Breeding Greenland, occasionally Iceland, wintering  northern Europe.
    • Kumlien's Gull L. g. kumlieni. Breeding north-east Canada, wintering eastern North America.
  • Slaty backed Gull Larus schistisagus. North-western Pacific Ocean.
  • Yellow-footed Gull Larus livens. North-west Mexico. Formerly subspecies of L. occidentalis.
  • Western Gull Larus occidentalis. Western North America, two subspecies:
    • L. o. occidentalis. British Columbia to northern California.
    • L. o. wyemani. Lower and southern California.

Glaucous Gull
Larus hyperboreus
Culmen: 66.9 mm; total: 143.7 mm.
Unsexed adult
Note the flat cranial profile

Western Gull
Larus occidentalis

Crescent City, Cal., USA
Culmen: 52.0 mm; total: 116.2 mm.
Unsexed adult

  • Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis. North America, inland and coastal.
  • Common Gull Larus canus. Three subspecies, almost circumpolar:
    • L. c. canus. Europe south to Mediterranean, North Africa to Persian Gulf.
    • L. c. henei. Northern Siberia, central Russia to Baltic and Mediterranean and Caspian Sea.
    • L. c. kamtchatchensis. Eastern Siberia to Formosa.
    • Mew Gull L.  brachyrynchus, Alaska and Canada to southern California.
  • Heerman's Gull Larus heermanni. California USA to Mexico.

Ring-billed Gull
Larus delawarensis

Delaware Bay, USA
Total: 94.1 mm.
Unsexed immature

Common Gull
Larus canus
Donkerbroek, The Netherlands
Culmen: 28.2 mm; total: 92.3 mm.
Unsexed adult

'Band-tailed' Gulls

Genus Larus

  • Pacific Gull Larus pacificus. Australia
  • Black-tailed or Japanese Gull Larus crassirostris. North-western Pacific.
  • Olriog's or Atlantic Gull Larus atlanticus. Eastern Atlantic Islands, Azores, Canaries, Madeira, Cape Verdes
  • Band-tailed Gull Larus belcheri.  Vagrants have reached North America.

Black-tailed or Japanese Gull
Larus crassirostris

Noto Hanto, Peninsula, Japan
No bill sheath, upper mandible deformed.
Total: 105.2 mm.
Unsexed adult


  • Skull
  • flight apparatus
  • Pelvis and legs
  • Vertebrae and ribs