Herring Gull: Large gull, pale gray back and wings with black tips, white head, neck breast. White tail and underparts. Bill is yellow with red spot near tip; legs are pink. Strong steady flight with deep wing beats. Soars on thermals and updrafts. Most widespread North American Gull.
Range and Habitat
Herring Gull: Breeds from Alaska east across northern Canada to Maritime Provinces, south to British Columbia, north-central Canada, and Great Lakes, and along Atlantic coast to North Carolina. Winters in all but its northernmost breeding areas and from southern Alaska to Baja California. Nests on open beaches, islands, or shorelines; stays on lakes, wetlands, rivers, and landfills.
Herring Gull flocks have a loose pecking order, based on size, aggressiveness, and physical strength.
Communication between these birds is complex and highly-developed, employing both calls and body language.
Two identical vocalizations can have very different meanings, depending on the positionings of the head, body, wings and tail relative to each other and the ground in the calling gull.
A group of gulls has many collective nouns, including a "flotilla", "gullery", "screech", "scavenging", and "squabble" of gulls.