Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Tim Avery
Photo Copyright Tim Avery

The herring gull, Larus argentatus, occurs in both North America and Eurasia. In North America, the species breeds in Alaska, Canada, and the northern United States, as well as along much of the Atlantic coast of the United States. Wintering areas for North American populations include southern Canada, much of the United States, Mexico, the West Indies, Hawaii, and parts of Central America. The herring gull can be found along coasts, as well as near lakes, rivers, and landfills. When breeding, tundra, rocky coasts, and islands are preferred. The herring gull is a regular migrant to Utah, where it can often be found near the Great Salt Lake during winter.

Females lay one clutch of two or three eggs in late spring. The eggs are incubated by the female alone, and hatch in approximately one month. The young are tended by both parents, and are not able to fly for about six or seven weeks. Herring gulls are opportunistic feeders that eat primarily animal matter, especially fishes.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.