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Kelp Gull

Larus dominicanus


Also known as the Dominican Gull. It is the only Larus gull found in the Southern Ocean. Unlike the Larus gulls that I'm used to in the Northern Hemisphere, these gulls didn't seem to be very numerous around human settlement. They also didn't follow us very far from the shore. They superficially resemble the lesser and greater black-backed gulls, and the size is somewhere in between the two.


Common along coasts, but breed on remote coastal plains, away from humans.


These were really common birds, but I didn't see any away from land. When I've been at sea in the Northern Hemisphere, I've observed black-backed gulls quite far from the coast. Perhaps because the Southern Ocean is particularly rough, these gulls don't venture very far from land (gulls in general are coastal birds rather than true seabirds).

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Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 7 years ago

What a wonderful gull! Cool discussion on "Southern Ocean!" :)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Interesting - thanks Laura.

LauraMaria 7 years ago

Ah, I think there are differing opinions on what the Southern Ocean encompasses! In the oceanography world, the Southern Ocean is anything south of the Antarctic Convergence, which is a lot further south from Australia and NZ. Exactly what the water between the south coast of Australia and the Antarctic Convergence is meant to be, I don't know :P But it ends up that the Kelp Gull's range falls in the Southern Ocean if you take this definition (which I am used to for the purposes of my research!). I suppose it's all rather subjective, really!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

I'm curious about the 'only Larus in the southern ocean'? L.pacificus exists on the southern coast of Australia, Tasmania and down to Macquarie island?

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Nice spotting. These guys look so much like Larus pacificus but less common for us. Good to see the subtle differences. Thanks Laura.

Spotted by

Falkland Islands

Spotted on Jan 8, 2013
Submitted on Feb 19, 2013

Spotted for Mission

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