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California Gull

Scientific Name:

Larus californicus




Variety of freshwater and saltwater areas


Western North America including deserts and mountain areas, where there are freshwater and saltwater lakes and marshes, and coastal areas


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


California gulls are considered medium-sized gulls. They have yellow legs, yellow bills, and gray backs which helps to distinguish them from other gulls. California gulls have a red spot on their lower bills. Breeding adults have white heads and non breeding adults will have streaked heads. They have been known to open their mouths and then run through insect swarms in order to capture insects in their mouths.

Fast Facts:

  • In 1848, California gulls came to the aid of Mormon settlers by eating the plague of crickets that were about to decimate the crops. There is a monument to these gulls in Salt Lake City, honoring the birds that helped keep the settlers alive.

  • California gulls are island ground nesters which can make them vulnerable to prey species during drought times.

  • California gulls breed in inland salt water areas such as Mono Lake and can live year round in freshwater areas such as the Truckee Meadows. They winter mostly along the North American coasts. They are considered omnivores as they will eat all kinds of human food as well as insects, rodents, and aquatic invertebrates.



Caron Tayloe (research & content)

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Last Updated:

March 27, 2024 at 1:48:22 AM

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