Western gull photo by Dick Daniels / Wikimedia Commons.

Western Gull

The western gull is the only common large dark-backed gull in its range. The heavy yellow bill stands out. Adult has a dark gray back and pink legs. First-year birds are all dark brown, becoming more cleanly marked as they reach breeding age in the fourth year.

Listen For

Low, hoarse calls that sound like an angry Chihuahua’s barks.


Western gull is a big bird with a dark back and a huge yellow bill. Heermann’s gull is black backed but much smaller.

Find It

Common along the Pacific Coast at all seasons, but rare inland. Found on beaches, docks, breakwaters, parks, parking lots, and dumps.


These birds boldly hang around California sea lion colonies, waiting to scavenge dead pups and other yummy things.

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