Kelp Gulls or Dominican Gulls

Kelp Gulls or Dominican Gulls

The Kelp Gulls, Larus dominicanus, breeds on coasts and islands through much of the southern hemisphere.

The race L. d. vetula occurs around southern Africa, and the nominate L. d. dominicanus is the subspecies found around South America and parts of Australia, where it overlaps with the Pacific Gull.

It is the southern equivalent of the northern hemisphere’s Lesser Black-backed Gull and is similar in size to that species at 56cm with an 128cm wingspan. This is a mainly coastal gull.

The nest is a shallow depression on the ground lined with vegetation and feathers. The female usually lays 2 or 3 eggs. Both parents feed the young birds.


Adults have black upperparts and wings. The head, underparts, tail and the small “mirrors” at the wing tips are white. The bill is yellow with a red spot, and the legs are greenish.

The call is a strident ki-och. Young birds have scaly black-brown upperparts, and a neat wing pattern.

They take four years to reach maturity. These are omnivores like most Larus gulls, and they will scavenge as well as seeking suitable small prey.

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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