Larus Glaucoides – Iceland Gull

Larus Glaucoides - Iceland Gull found in the US

The Iceland gull (Larus glaucoides) is a medium-sized gull that breeds in Canada and Greenland’s Arctic areas, but not in Iceland (as the name implies), where it is only seen in the winter. The genus name derives from the Latin larus, which appears to have referred to a huge seabird or gull. The specific epithet glaucoides refers to its likeness to Larus glaucus, a synonym of Larus hyperboreus, the glaucous gull; the suffix -oides derives from Ancient Greek and means “resembling.”

Quick Overview: Larus Glaucoides – Iceland Gull
Body size: Around 23-25 in (58-64 cm) and a weight of 862 g (30.4 oz)
Main colors: Gray, Yellow-Green, Pink
Range: Eastern United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Iceland Gull Description

Iceland gulls are extremely pale throughout their plumage, with no melanin at the tips of their primaries in adult plumage. Adults have a pale gray upper body and a yellowish-green bill. Immatures are very pale gray; the bill is significantly darker than that of a glaucous gull and is devoid of pink.

Larus Glaucoides - Iceland Gull found in the US
Larus Glaucoides – Iceland Gull. Photo by: Dan O’Malley


These birds have a length of 23-25 in (58-64 cm) and a weight of 862 g (30.4 oz). Their wings could range from 54 in (137 cm).


These gulls, like the majority of Larus gulls, are omnivores, consuming fish, mollusks, offal, garbage, and eggs. They hunt by flying and scooping up food at or near the water’s surface, as well as by strolling or swimming.


Nests on rocky beaches and cliffs; like coastal settings such as harbors, big reservoirs, and adjacent landfills.


Captures fish by flying into the sea and sinking into the water. Additionally, food is discovered while wading or wandering along the shore. Direct flight characterized by strong, deep wing beats. Soars to great heights on thermals and updrafts.

Larus Glaucoides Scientific Classification

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

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the Iceland Gull in the USA

Breeds in southern Greenland, southern Baffin Island, northern Quebec, and on Hudson Bay islands. Winters in Europe, Iceland, and the eastern United States of America.

The Iceland Gull can be found in the following states in the United States – Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

Larus Glaucoides – Iceland Gull

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