Bird Families

Burgomaster / Larus hyperboreus


Class: Birds
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Gulls
Genus: Seagulls
Type: Burgomaster

Latin name: Larus hyperboreus
English name: Glaucous gull

Habitat: Circumpolar in Europe, Asia, America and in the coastal parts of the tundra


Bird-burgomaster or Great Arctic gull - a bird from the family of gulls of the order Charadriiformes. Most likely, it got its name for its leader's behavior (the burgomaster is the mayor, the head of the executive power in the cities of Western Europe, such as Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria). First, the burgomaster is one of the largest gulls, weighing 2 kilograms and 80 centimeters in body length. Secondly, she settles near bird colonies and regularly taxes them in the form of eggs and chicks. Thirdly, it chooses the highest rocks for review. And fourthly, it has a loud commanding voice heard throughout the district. The voice is like that of a herring gull, but rougher and reminiscent of human laughter.

Maturity occurs at the age of 4 years. Breeds in May-June colonially or singly on the shores and rocks of continents and islands, arranging nests on the ground or stones, also the nest is made of dry algae and grass. Clutch usually contains 2-4 light brown eggs with dark chocolate spots. One clutch per year of 2-3 eggs measuring 7.5x5.5 cm. Both parents incubate for 27-28 days.The hatched chicks sit in the nest for about 2 months, then they stand on the wing. However, they do not leave their parents for another couple of months. Only when they have grown well, they unite in flocks with the same grown-up chicks. The life span of a glaucous bird in the wild is 20-22 years. These birds live for a maximum of 25 years.

During the non-breeding season, the glaucous bird roams in the sea to the coastal strip. It feeds on waste from the sea, fish, carrion, ruins nests, etc. In the tundra he catches lemmings. Glaucous gulls are omnivorous, like most gulls, and their diet also includes fish, insects, shellfish, starfish, seeds, berries and grains. On the day of an adult, 0.5 kg of food is needed.

The glaucous gull differs from the gray-winged gull in its light color, and from other large gulls in the white tips of the wings. The wings are light gray with white tips. The paws are pink, the beak is yellow with a red spot on the mandible. Young birds are light brownish-gray with white wingtips and a monochromatic tail.

The Burgomaster is a large and powerful bird, very careful, rather silent. They fly fast and are capable of speeds up to 90 km / h. It is a migratory species, not numerous, but the population size is stable and there are no prerequisites for its decrease. There are practically no enemies. Winters in the northern waters of the Atlantic and the North Pacific Ocean up to the British Isles and the northern states of the United States, as well as in the Great Lakes. This species includes 4 subspecies. One subspecies lives in the north of Europe and in the north-west of Siberia. The second chose for himself the waters and the coast of the Bering Sea.The third subspecies is found in Alaska and northwest Canada. The fourth subspecies lives in the central regions of Canada, Greenland and Iceland. Representatives of the latter subspecies in Canada are heavier than others by an average of 15%. The weight of burgomasters varies from 960 g to 2.7 kg. The average weight in males is 1.55 kg, and in females it is 1.35 kg. There are hybrids between Glaucous Gulls and Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus).


The great polar gull, or the Burgomaster, is a very large gull, close in size to the black-headed gull. Adult glaucous flowers in spring plumage are white, with a pale-gray back, humeral, secondary flight feathers and bases of primary flight feathers. In winter dress, there are pale grayish streaks on the head and neck. The bill is yellow, with an orange-red spot at the corner of the mandible; the legs are yellowish-pinkish. The eyes are pale yellow, the edges of the eyelids are yellow or red. In young birds, the mantle is pale brownish, with an indistinct variegated ocher pattern. On the top of the head there are brown-barreled lines. Flight feathers are grayish, tail feathers are brownish with whitish markings. The underside of the body is grayish-brownish with indistinct whitish spots. The beak is brownish, the legs are grayish-flesh-colored. Ruduzhina is brown. Sizes: wing 420-490 mm, tail 170-200 mm, tarsus 65-75 mm, beak 55-70 mm. The average weight of males is 1650 g, females are 1580 g.


Single glaucous gulls were caught in the Caspian Sea, on the Irtysh and in the Ili river valley, near Chilik on October 30, 1969.


A rare migrant bird. Observation is possible on the Kapia coast, as well as on rivers and lakes in October-November.

Sources of information

"Birds of Kazakhstan" volume 2. Alma-Ata, 1962.E.I. Gavrilov. "Fauna and distribution of birds in Kazakhstan". Almaty, 1999. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005.


One of the largest seagulls. The wings are light gray with white tips. The paws are pink, the beak is yellow with a red spot on the mandible. Juveniles are light brownish-gray with white wingtips and a monochromatic tail.


Inhabits rocky sea coasts and islands, tundra, during non-breeding season it stays in the coastal zone of the sea. Migrant. Few. Breeds in separate pairs, less often in small colonies together with herring and sea gulls on steep cliffs, usually near bird colonies, in tundra - on islets among lakes.

Dry algae and grass nest. Clutch in second half of May - June, consists of 2-3 brownish-olive eggs with dark spots. Very careful. The voice is like a herring gull, but rougher. It feeds on fish and marine invertebrates, eats chicks and eggs of guillemots and kittiwakes in bird colonies, catches lemmings in the tundra, feeds on garbage from fishing.

Flight and habits like other large gulls. Under certain conditions (in goose nests) it is harmful. It differs from the gray-winged gull in its light color, from other large gulls in the white tips of the wings (the same young ones).

What does it look like

A medium-sized bird: wingspan - 180 cm, body length reaches 65 cm, weight - 2 kg.

Males are larger and heavier than females. The second name is the great polar gull. The Burgomaster has a light color: the main part of the plumage is white, and only the elytra, flight feathers and back are painted in ash gray.The powerful beak is yellow, the legs are yellowish-pink. The plumage of young birds under 4 years of age differs markedly from the plumage of adults: brownish-gray streaks are found throughout the body.


Reaches puberty at the age of 4 years. Both parents are involved in the construction of the nest and the breeding of chicks. The nest is arranged on rocky ledges. The female lays 2–4 eggs, and both parents incubate them for 28 days. The chicks are fed for about two months before they begin an independent existence.

Recommended and cited literature

Guides-determinants of the geographer and traveler V.E. Flint, R.L. Boehme, Yu.V. Kostin, A.A. Kuznetsov. Birds of the USSR. Publishing house "Mysl" Moscow, edited by prof. G.P. Dementieva.