Pacific Gull

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Pacific Gull
Image:Pacific_Gull.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Laridae
Genus:Larus
Species:L. pacificus
Binomial name
Larus pacificus
Latham,, 1802

The Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus) is a very large gull native to the southern coasts of Australia and the nearby islands. It is moderately common between Carnarvon in the west and Sydney in the east, although it has become scarce in some parts of the south-east as a result of competition from the Kelp Gull, which has self-introduced since the 1940s.

Much larger than the ubiquitous Silver Gull, and nowhere near as common, Pacific Gulls are usually seen alone or in pairs, loafing around the shoreline, steadily patrolling high above the edge of the water, or (sometimes) zooming high on the breeze to drop a shellfish or sea urchin onto rocks.

Adult Pacific Gulls range from 58 to 66 cm in length, and are white with dark wings and back and a powerful red-tipped yellow bill. Young birds are mottled brown all over and attain their adult plumage only gradually: by its fourth year, a young Pacific Gull has usually become difficult to tell apart from an adult bird.

There are two subspecies: the nominate eastern race prefers sheltered beaches, the western race georgii is commonly found even on exposed shores. Both subspecies nest in pairs or loose colonies on offshore islands, making a cup of grasses and sticks in an exposed position, and laying two or three mottled brown eggs.

image:Pacific_Gull-young.jpg

Juvenile Pacific Gull
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