Larus novaehollandiae Stephens, 1826. Click to enlarge image
Larus novaehollandiae Stephens, 1826. Silver gull colony. Image: NA
© Australian Musuem

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    novaehollandiae
    Genus
    Larus
    Family
    Laridae
    Order
    Charadriiformes
    Class
    Aves
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    40 cm to 45 cm

The Silver Gull has become a successful scavenger, readily pestering humans for handouts of scraps, pilfering from unattended food containers or searching for human refuse at tips.

Identification

The Silver Gull has a white head, tail and underparts, with a light grey back and black-tipped wings. In adult birds the bill, legs and eye-ring are bright orange-red.

Habitat

The Silver Gull is found at virtually any watered habitat and is rarely seen far from land. Birds flock in high numbers around fishing boats as these leave or return to the coast, but seldom venture far out to sea.

Distribution

The Silver Gull is common throughout Australia and is also found in New Zealand and New Caledonia.



Feeding and diet

As with many other gull species, the Silver Gull has become a successful scavenger, readily pestering humans for handouts of scraps, pilfering from unattended food containers or searching for human refuse at tips. Other food includes worms, fish, insects and crustaceans.

Communication

The most common call is a harsh 'kwee-aarr'.

Breeding behaviours

Silver Gulls nest in large colonies on offshore islands. Often two broods will be raised in a year, and both adults share nest-building, incubation and feeding duties. Eggs are laid in a shallow nest scrape, lined with vegetation.

  • Breeding Season: At any time, usually August to November
  • Clutch size: 3

Conservation status

With greater access to a wide range of dietary items, the Silver Gull has been able to increase its population in areas of human activity. Available nesting grounds appear to be the only limiting factor to population increases.

References

  • Pringle, J.D. 1987. The Shorebirds of Australia. Angus and Robertson and the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.