Australian Bush Birds
Pacific Gull  -  Larus pacificus
Pacific gull
Pacific Gull western subspecies with red eye, photographed near Hopetoun on WA south coast.
Pacific gull Juvenile Pacific gull
Left. Pacific Gull eastern subspecies with white iris, photographed in Western Port, Victoria
Right. Juvenile Pacific Gull in Western Port, Victoria.
map map The Pacific Gull - Larus pacificus - is a large bird; adults are black and white with yellow legs and feet and a large red-tipped yellow bill. Juveniles have a dark coloured bill, iris and legs; body is largely dark brown, slightly mottled. Mature plumage is gained after six partial or full moults in three years so a wide variation in colouring is observable. At first, the body underside becomes lighter in colour, this progresses along the entire underside in successive moults while the underside of the wings changes to black and white and the upper wing surface becomes black with white trailing edge tips. Females are smaller with less massive bill. Grows 50 to 66 centimetres.

There are two versions. The eastern subspecies (pacificus) has a white iris; the western subspecies (georgii) has a red iris making the eye look dark from a distance (photograph above). Mount Gambier is the border between subspecies.

Pacific Gull - page 2
Lives along the coast of southern Australia from about Geraldton south and east to about Sydney. In the south east it is being replaced by the similar Kelp Gull. The eastern subspecies tends to prefer sheltered beaches; those in the west also occur on open ocean coasts. Often on coastal islands; occasionally on inland rivers and coastal lakes.