Utah Winter Gulls

by Dennis Shirley

General Information  |  Gull Identification  |  Immature Gulls  |  Key to Adult Gulls  |  Species List  |

     Thayer's Gull
  (similar species)

Breeding Adult - brown eyes; small rounded head
Photo by Jack Binch   ©Jack Binch

1st Winter - pale gray-brown plumage, whitish inner primaries, solid gray
subterminal tail band, little or no black on underwing tips
by Richard Young   ©Richard B. Young


Thayer's Gull

Similar Species
   Herring Gull - adults have pale eyes, black under wing tips and appear larger overall, especially the bill and head.  First-winter Herring Gulls have blackish wing tips above which are darker than rest of wing; the underside of wing tips usually has some black. Second-winter Herring Gulls have black wing tips and tail band.  Second-winter Thayer's Gulls resemble pale, washed-out second-winter Herring Gulls with a gray-brown tail band and wing tips.
   Iceland Gulls - can not always by separated from pale adult Thayer's, but are usually not as dark on wing tips, the mantle is often paler, eyes are possibly darker brown.  Also First-year Iceland Gulls are not always  distinguishable from pale first-winter Thayer's, but lack a solid tail band, although tail mottling may suggest a weak tail band and first-winter Thayer's Gulls have uniform whitish flight feathers that are paler than upper wing coverts.
   Glaucous-winged Gulls - are usually larger, have larger, thicker bill and slightly lighter wing tips; however, Glaucous-winged intergrades have darker primaries like Thayer's.  Immature Glaucous-winged Gulls are  smudgier looking overall than Thayer's; at rest and the primaries the same as or slightly paler than the rest of wing, not slightly darker as in Thayer's Gulls.


Breeding Adult Herring -  has a larger yellow bill with an more orange spot;
also has a pale yellow eye and angular head (see below)

Photo by Merrill Webb   ©Merrill Webb

Adult Thayer's - has a brown iris, smaller bill, smaller rounder head than Herring.
by Jack Binch   ©Jack Binch

1st Winter Iceland  -  usually not as dark on wing tips, mantle often paler, eye color possibly
darker brown. (First-year Iceland sometimes not distinguishable from pale first-winter Thayer's).

   Photo by Paul Higgins   ©Paul Higgins

Breeding Adult Glaucous-winged -  usually larger, with larger,
thicker bill and slightly lighter wing tips than Thayer's.

Photo by Jack Binch   ©Jack Binch

1st Year Thayer's - Immature Glaucous-winged are smudgier
overall than Thayer's especially at rest.

by Richard Young   ©Richard B. Young

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