Ivory Gull – Description | Facts | Range | Call

ivory gull

A frequent companion of polar bears, the Ivory Gull is an all-white seabird that lives amid ice floes within the Excessive Arctic, with its cute, slender shape and swift movement.

Ivory Gull facts

This article will give an overview of Ivory Gull, its description, facts, range, and call.

What number of Ivory Gulls are there right this moment? As of 2012, Birdlife Worldwide estimated the world inhabitants of Ivory Gulls to be wherever between 19,000 and 27,000 birds.

The ivory gull, scientific name Pagophila eburnea is a small gull, the one species within the genus Pagophila.

Ivory gull breeds within the excessive Arctic and has a circumpolar distribution by way of Greenland, northernmost North America, and Eurasia.


This ivory gull species is straightforward to determine. At 43 centimeters (17 in), it has a special, extra pigeon-like form than the Larus gulls, however, the grownup has fully white plumage, missing the gray again of different gulls.

The thick bill of the ivory gull is blue with a yellow tip, and the legs are black. The bill is tipped with pink, and the eyes have a fleshy, shiny pink eye-ring within the breeding season. Its flight name cry is a harsh, tern-like keeper.

The ivory gull has many different vocalizations, together with a warbling “fox-call” that signifies potential predators corresponding to an Arctic fox, polar bear, Glaucous Gull or human close to a nest, a “long-call” given with wrists out, elongated neck and downward-pointed bill, given in elaborate show to different Ivories throughout breeding, and a plaintive begging name.

Given in courtship by females to males, accompanied by head-tossing. Younger birds have a dusky face and variable quantities of black flecking within the wings and tail.

The juveniles take two years to achieve full grownup plumage. There aren’t any variations to look throughout the species’ geographic vary.

Distribution and habitat

In North America, it solely breeds within the Canadian Arctic. Seymour Island, Nunavut is residence to the biggest identified breeding colony, whereas Ellesmere, Devon, Cornwallis, and north Baffin islands are identified areas of breeding colonies.

It’s believed that there are different small breeding colonies of lower than six birds which can be nonetheless undiscovered.[4] There is no information about the ivory gull breeding in Alaska.

In the course of the winter, ivory gulls reside close to polynyas, or a big space of open water surrounded by sea ice.

North American birds, together with some from Greenland and Europe, winter alongside the 2000 km of ice edge stretching between 50° and 64° N from the Labrador Sea to the Davis Strait that’s bordered by Labrador and southwestern Greenland.

Wintering gulls are sometimes seen on the eastern coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador and sometimes seem on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the inside of Labrador.

It additionally winters from October by way of June within the Bering Sea and Chukchi Seas.

It’s most widespread all through the polynyas and packs ice of the Bering Sea.

Ivory gull is usually vagrant all through coastal Canada and the northeastern United States, although information of people as far south as California and Georgia have been reported, in addition to the British Isles, with most information from late November by way of early March. Juveniles are inclined to wander farther from the Arctic than adults.

ivory gull

Ecology and behavior

Ivory gulls migrate solely brief distances south in autumn, a lot of the inhabitants wintering in northern latitudes on the fringe of the pack ice, though some birds attain extra temperate areas.

Ivory gull Diet

Ivory gull takes fish and crustaceans, rodents, eggs and small chicks however can be an opportunist scavenger, typically discovered on seal or porpoise corpses.

It has been identified to comply with polar bears and different predators to feed on the stays of their kills.

Ivory gull Reproduction

The ivory gull breeds on Arctic coasts and cliffs, laying one to 3 olive eggs in a floor nest lined with moss, lichens, or seaweed.


In 2012 the overall inhabitants of ivory gulls were estimated to be between 19,000 and 27,000 people.

Nearly all of these had been in Russia with 2,500–10,000 alongside the Arctic shoreline, 4,000 on the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, and eight,000 on Franz Josef Land and Victoria Island.

There have been additionally estimated to be around 4,000 people in Greenland[8] and within the years 2002–03, 500–700 had been recorded in Canada.

Examination of information collected on an icebreaker plying between Greenland and Svalbard between 1988 and 2014, by Claude Joris of the Royal Belgian Institute of Pure Sciences, discovered a sevenfold fall in ivory gull numbers after 2007.

The ivory gull species is quickly declining in Canada, whereas in different elements of its vary its inhabitants are poorly identified.

The Canadian inhabitants within the early 2000s had been roughly 80% decrease than within the 1980s.

Unlawful looking could also be one of many causes of the decline within the Canadian inhabitants, and a second trigger often is the decline in sea ice.

Ivory gulls breed close to sea ice and the loss might make it troublesome to feed their chicks.

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