Hydrocoloeus Minutus – Little Gull

Hydrocoloeus Minutus - Little Gull found in the US

The little gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus or Larus minutus) is a small gull found in northern Europe and the Palearctic. The name Hydrocoloeus is derived from the Ancient Greek words hydro (water) and colors (a type of web-footed bird). The word minutus comes from the Latin word for “little.”

Quick Overview: Hydrocoloeus Minutus – Little Gull
Body size: Around 10-11 in (25-28 cm) and a weight of 119 g (4.2 oz)
Main colors: Gray, White, Black, Red, Red-Orange
Range: Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: March, April, May, September, October, November
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Little Gull Description

The smallest of the gull species, with pale gray upperparts and white nape, throat, breast, belly, and tail. The hood is black and goes up to the top neck. The underwings are black. The bill is a deep red with a black tip. The legs and feet are a bright red-orange color.

Hydrocoloeus Minutus - Little Gull found in the US
Hydrocoloeus Minutus – Little Gull. Photo by: Paul Hurtado


These birds have a length of 10-11 in (25-28 cm) and a weight of 119 g (4.2 oz). Their wings could range from 29-31 in (74-79 cm).


The majority are insects. During the summer and migration, it primarily feeds on insects. Brine shrimp and other crustaceans, small mollusks, spiders, sea worms, and some small fish are also eaten.


This species nests in colonies on freshwater marshes, where it builds a lined nest on the ground among the vegetation


Small fish, worms, insects, and crustaceans are among its favorite foods. Picks food from the surface of the water and catches insects in the air.

Hydrocoloeus Minutus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Laridae
  • Genus: Hydrocoloeus
  • Species: Hydrocoloeus minutus

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds are during the Spring season (March-May) and during the Autumn season (September – November).

Distribution of the Little Gull in the USA

Breeds from middle Europe to southern Siberia. Breeds locally in Ontario and Wisconsin in recent years; winters in small numbers in eastern North America, particularly along the coast from New Brunswick to New Jersey and on the Great Lakes.

The Little Gull can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Georgia, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Hydrocoloeus Minutus – Little Gull

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