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Gray Gull Video Stock Footage

The sexes are similar in grey gulls. Adults grow to a length of about 45 cm (18 in) and weigh some 360 to 400 g (13 to 14 oz). The head is white in summer but brownish-grey in winter. The body and wings are grey with the dorsal surface rather darker than the ventral region. The flight feathers are black and the inner primaries and the secondaries have white tips, visible in flight. The tail has a band of black with a white trailing edge. The legs and beak are black and the iris is brown. The call is similar to that of the laughing gull (Leucophaeus atricilla). The humidity, wind speed, air and surface temperatures vary widely on a daily basis and the gull has to use various thermo-regulatory mechanisms when nesting to maintain its body temperature and that of its eggs and chicks within acceptable limits. In the hottest part of the day the parent bird stands over its nest to prevent the eggs or chicks overheating. Its chief predator is the turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and when threatened, the incubating parent sometimes leaves the nest temporarily, and when this happens the eggs need to have impervious shells in order to avoid losing too much water through evaporation. In fact, the evaporative loss from the eggs is found to be about one third of that which occurs in Heermann's gull (Larus heermanni), another desert nesting species.

Learn more about Gray Gull

Animalia: Chordata: Charadriiformes: Aves: Laridae: Leucophaeus modestus

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