Photo: R Major © Australian Museum
Silver Gull on rail.
Photo: K Vang and W Dabrowka / Bird Explorers © K Vang and W Dabrowka / Bird Explorers
Silver Gulls on the grass.
Photo: R. Major © Australian Museum
Distribution map of Larus novaehollandiae
Map © Birds Australia Birdata
Scientific name: Larus novaehollandiae
What does it look like?
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.
The Silver Gull's colouration and its relatively small size easily distinguish it from the other two resident gulls in Australia. These are the Pacific Gull, L. pacificus (63 cm), and the Kelp Gull, L. dominicanus (58 cm). Some smaller vagrant species are found in Australia from time to time, but have distinctly different plumages to the Silver Gull.
Where does it live?
The Silver Gull is common throughout Australia and is also found in New Zealand and New Caledonia.
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.
What does it do?
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.
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.
Living with us
Living with humans
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.
Pringle, J.D. 1987. The Shorebirds of Australia. Angus and Robertson and the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Sydney.