Swallow Tailed Gull Facts

  • Scientific Name:
    Creagrus furcatus
  • Family:
  • Length:
    51 - 58 cm (20 - 22.8 in)
  • Wingspan:
    130 cm (51 in)
Galapagos Swallow-tailed Gull

Common resident, especially in the eastern most islands. Population Estimated at. 10,000-15,000 pairs in over 50 colonies. Endemic, except for a small colony on Malpelo Island off the west coast of Colombia. Breeds throughout the year, nesting in the shore zone.


Unmistakable; the only common whitish gull with a distinctive forked tail. ADULT: Upper parts and neck grey; under parts white. In breeding plumage has dark grey head, large eye with red eye-ring, and black bill with pale base and tip. Non-breeding adults have white head with dark eye-patch. In flight shows distinctive 'triangular' pattern of grey back and wing-coverts, white secondaries and black primaries. JUVENILE: Head and under parts white, with black eye-patch and ear-spot; upper parts scaly brown and white.


Gives a range of calls which may have a function in echolocation; most frequent alarm call is a rattle interspersed with a piercing "pee".


Feeds mostly nocturnally, usually several miles from land. Flight is bouyant and tern-like.

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