Sabines Gull (Larus sabini)

Sabines Gull

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Laridae | [latin] Larus sabini | [UK] Sabines Gull | [FR] Mouette de Sabine | [DE] Schwalbenmowe | [ES] Gaviota de Sabine | [NL] Vorkstaartmeeuw


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Chroicocephalus sabini
Xema sabini EU, NA n coasts nw SA, sw AF, coasts

Physical charateristics

The Sabine’s Gull is a small gull with a graceful, tern-like flight. This gull has a slate-gray back, a white belly and tail, and black wingtips. The adult has a black bill with a yellow tip. The middle of the wings is white, giving the bird a distinctive ‘M’ pattern across its wings in flight. In breeding season, the adult has a dark gray hood, edged in black. The adult in non-breeding plumage has a partially gray and white head. The juvenile is brown across the back, neck, and head, with a white face.
The Sabine’s Gull often hovers low over the water, dropping down to take food from the water’s surface without landing. It also forages while swimming. In summer, this gull often feeds by walking along the tidal flats and picking up food. The Sabine’s Gull has been known to spin in circles in shallow water, stirring up food from the bottom.

Listen to the sound of Sabines Gull

[audio: Gull.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 80 cm wingspan max.: 87 cm
size min.: 30 cm size max.: 36 cm
incubation min.: 23 days incubation max.: 25 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 25 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


Eurasia, North America : North coasts


Sabine’s Gulls nest in the high Arctic in marshy tundra ponds close to the coast. Outside the breeding season, they spend most of their time at sea, out of sight of land. When at sea, they concentrate over the continental shelf or over upwellings of cold, nutrient-rich water.


Nests are located on the open ground, in small colonies, typically close to the water. Sabine’s Gull colonies are often located near or within Arctic Tern colonies. The nest is a shallow depression, sometimes unlined, or lined with seaweed, moss, or feathers. The female typically lays two eggs, which both parents help incubate for about 3

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