Bill yellow: legs livid: tarsus two inches three lines: wings reaching a little beyond the tail: shafts of the primaries white: mantle (in the adult) pale bluish ash.
Entire length twenty-two inches, (Edmondst).: length of the bill (from the forehead) two inches; of the tarsus two inches three lines, (Selb).: breadth, wings extended, four feet four inches, (Edmondst).
Distinguished from the next species by its smaller size, and from the L. argentatus, which it also closely resembles, by the entire absence of black on the primary quills. (Adult in winter) "Back, and upper wing-coverts, very pale blue; all the rest of the plumage white, except the head and upper part of the neck, which are streaked with gray, as occurs in the winter dress of the other large gulls; wing-feathers and scapulars tipped with a more brilliant and pure white tinge than that which occurs on the rest of the plumage: irides pale yellow: bill smaller and more slender than in the Herring Gull: feet deep flesh-colour." Edmondst. (Immature Bird). "Ground-colour of the entire plumage pale yellowish gray; the feathers being barred and mottled with pale broccoli-brown: quills grayish white, with a slight tinge of broccoli-brown: tail pale broccoli-brown, marbled with white: bill pale flesh-red, or livid, at the base, with the tip blackish, or dark horn-colour: irides pale yellowish gray: legs and toes pale livid flesh-red." Selb.
A winter visitant in the Shetland Isles, and the -northern parts of Scotland, where it was first observed by Mr. Edmondston, who has pointed out the distinctions between this and the next species. Mr. Selby has also obtained a few specimens on the coast of Northumberland, though all in immature plumage. By this last gentleman it is considered to be the same as the L. argentatus of Sabine, I. c. (the L. arcticws of Macgillivray, Wern. Mem. vol. v. p. 268), which is described as being plentiful in Baffin's Bay, Davis's Straits, and Melville Island. Mr. Selby observes that it is also common upon the Iceland coast, and thinks it probable that many of those which winter with us retire there to breed. Feeds on fish, the flesh of whales, and other carrion.