Bird GuideGulls and TernsSlaty-backed Gull

At a Glance

Resident along the coastlines of northeastern Asia, this big gull is a regular summer visitor to western Alaska, usually in small numbers. In winter, it has appeared as a rare stray at widely scattered points in North America, as far east as New England and as far south as Texas.
Gull-like Birds, Gulls and Terns
Low Concern
Coasts and Shorelines, Landfills and Dumps, Saltwater Wetlands, Tundra and Boreal Habitats
Alaska and The North

Range & Identification


27" (68.5 cm). The only blackish-backed gull likely in western Alaska (but note that some Herring Gulls in western Alaska are slightly darker-backed than those elsewhere). Pink legs, noticeable pattern of white in wingtips.
About the size of a Heron, About the size of a Mallard or Herring Gull
Black, Gray, Pink, Red, White, Yellow
Wing Shape
Broad, Pointed, Tapered
Tail Shape
Rounded, Short, Square-tipped

Songs and Calls

Similar to that of Herring Gull, but deeper and more guttural.
Call Pattern
Falling, Flat
Call Type
Raucous, Scream

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status