Along the southern coast of Australia, nestled on sandy beaches and rocky shorelines, lives Australia’s largest gull – the Pacific Gull. Larus pacificus, more commonly known as the Pacific Gull can be identified by its impressive wingspan, black back feathers and large yellow bill.
A fully grown Pacific Gull is predominately white with a black back and a red tipped bill. Juvenile birds, differ in their colouring being largely dark brown with a black tipped yellow bill. The newborns often have a much more pale face and a pink bill with a black tip.
Pacific gulls have typically been known to build neat nests from sticks, grass, seaweed and feathers in elevated areas like headlands, wharves and jetties. While this species prefers to avoid human habitation, they have been known to nest in harbours, farmland and rubbish tips where they can forage for food scraps. Despite their name, the Pacific Gull rarely frequents the Pacific coast and prefer nesting sites along the Southern and Indian Ocean coastline.
Along the coast in shallow water, the Pacific Gull feeds on molluscs, fish, small birds and other marine life that inhabit tide lines. Unfortunately this can create a hazard for the gulls as they are known to become entangled in fishing lines. This is fast becoming a major threat to the species and can affect breeding grounds and roost sites.
Breeding occurs in small colonies or scattered single pairs and usually on islands or high points of headlands. Both the male and female gull will incubate their eggs which are blotched in colour and are rarely more than three in total.
Information source: Bush Heritage Australia and Birdlife Australia