California Gull

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California Gull
Missing image
CaliforniaGull23.jpg
Photo: Gull


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Laridae
Genus:Larus
Species:L. californicus
Binomial name
Larus californicus
(Lawrence, 1854)

The California Gull, Larus californicus, is a medium-sized gull, smaller than the Herring Gull but larger than the Ring-billed Gull.

Adults are similar in appearance to the Herring Gull, but have a smaller yellow bill with a black ring, yellow legs, brown eyes and a more rounded head. The body is mainly white with grey back and upper wings. They have black primaries with white tips. Immature birds are also similar in appearance to immature Herring Gulls, with browner plumage than immature Ring-billed Gulls.

Their breeding habitat is lakes and marshes in western North America. They nest in colonies, sometimes with other birds. The nest is a shallow depression on the ground lined with vegetation and feathers. The female usually lays 2 or 3 eggs. Both parents feed the young birds.

They are migratory and most move to the Pacific coast in winter.

These birds forage in flight or pick up objects while swimming, walking or wading. They mainly eat insects, fish and eggs. They also scavenge at garbage dumps or docks. They may follow plows in fields for insects stirred up by this activity.

This is the state bird of Utah, remembered for assisting Mormon settlers in dealing with a plague of Mormon crickets. A Seagull Monument in Salt Lake City commemorates this event, known as the "Miracle of the Gulls".

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