Pacific Gull (Larus pacificus)
The Pacific Gulls (Larus pacificus) is a very large gull, native to the coasts of Australia. It is moderately common between Carnarvon in the west, and Sydney in the east, although it has become scarce in some parts of the south-east, as a result of competition from the Kelp Gull, which has “self-introduced” since the 1940s.
Much larger than the ubiquitous Silver Gull, and nowhere near as common, Pacific Gulls are usually seen alone or in pairs, loafing around the shoreline, steadily patrolling high above the edge of the water, or (sometimes) zooming high on the breeze to drop a shellfish or sea urchin onto rocks.
Adult Pacific Gulls range from 58 to 66 cm in length, and are white, with dark wings and back, and a powerful, red-tipped yellow bill. Young birds are mottled-brown all over, and attain their adult plumage only gradually: by its fourth year, a young Pacific Gull has usually become difficult to tell apart from an adult bird.
There are two subspecies: the nominate eastern race prefers sheltered beaches, the western race georgii is commonly found even on exposed shores. Both subspecies nest in pairs or loose colonies on offshore islands, making a cup of grasses and sticks in an exposed position, and laying two or three mottled brown eggs.