Ring-billed Gull    (Larus delawarensis)



Meet a very common gull that is probably seen by more people than any other gull.  It occurs throughout North America in both fresh water and marine habitats.  In Puget Sound it is more commonly seen during spring and fall migrations.  Away from the coastal areas it is the common gull seen around fast food restaurants and other places where human food can be easily obtained.


The ring-billed gull is named for the obvious black ring around the tip of it's bill.   It is a rather small gull with an over all length of 17 and a half inches and yellow eyes as an adult.  There is a similar but slightly smaller gull called the Mew Gull, but its eyes are dark in the adult and the bill is all yellow.


Like other gulls it eats a wide range of food items, ranging from human scraps, earthworms in plowed fields, eggs of nesting seabirds, small fish, intertidal animals and various insects.  


They breed in colonies located in isolated areas such as rocky islets, remote coastal areas or islands in lakes.  The nest is a simple structure of matted grass including some fine grass and feathers.  Incubation lasts 21 days.  After hatching the chicks remain in or around the nest for two to three weeks.  Like other gulls, the ring-bill gull takes more than one year to mature with each stage marked by changes in plumage, bill, and eye color.  While a ring-billed gull may take three years to mature, smaller gulls may take two years and larger ones four years.