A spectacular and highly sought-after Arctic gull. Unmistakable in all plumages. Adults are entirely gleaming white with black legs and a bluish-green bill with an orange tip. Immatures have a dark face and variable black spotting on the wings and tail. Stocky and short-legged, suggesting an odd white pigeon as much as a typical gull. Almost always restricted to icy areas in the High Arctic, very rarely wandering further south in the winter. Can be seen singly or in loose groups, especially when feeding at a seal carcass. Typically very confiding.
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