Illustration from National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America
March 7, 1806, at Fort Clatsop, Oregon.
A small delicate gull, silvery gray above, with conspicuous white, wedge-shaped patches on leading edge of outer wing. Head black in breeding adults, white in winter with dark spot behind eye. Bill black. Length: 12-14 in (30-36 cm).
Rasping tee-ar; soft, nasal snarling note.
Forested lakes and rivers; winters along coasts, in estuaries, and at mouths of large rivers.
Breeds in Alaska and interior northwestern Canada east to James Bay. Winters along both coasts, on Pacific from Washington southward, on Atlantic from southern New England southward.
Because they breed in the far north, these beautiful gulls are most often seen on lakes and rivers during migration or along the coast in winter.