Field NotesHerring Gull

Adult Herring Gull in non-breeding plumage with a fish flipping on an ice covered river

The Herring Gull is one of the most common gulls in eastern North America. It’s a good sized bird, with a body about 2 feet in length. The adult has a white body and tail, and is gray on the top of its wings and back. The ends of its wings are black with white spots, and its legs are a pale pink. Another distinctive marking is the bright red spot on the front of the bottom portion of its beak. The Herring Gull in these photos is an adult and has non-breeding plumage, which is the grey splotches on its head and neck. If it were breeding season its head and neck would be white.

Herring Gull eating a fish on ice covered river. Notice the gray back, black wing tips, and white tail.

Herring Gull eating fish on ice covered river. Notice the white spots on the black wing tips, and the red spot on the underside of its bill.