Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Heermann's Gull - Larus heermanni
Laridae Members:
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General Comments The thought of a strictly West Coast gull species like Heermann's Gull showing up along the Atlantic Coast would seem absurd. However, in the last decade a few "lost" individuals, both immatures and adults, have appeared in many if not most Atlantic Coast states; and seemingly North Carolina was among the last states to document this species. Finally, on 12 February 2022*, an adult was seen and photographed at Mason Inlet (New Hanover)-- both from the Wrightsville Beach (south) and Figure Eight Island (north) sides of the inlet [Chat 86:56-57 link]. Photos are on the Carolina Bird Club Photo Gallery, as well as in the above reference. Presumably this same bird was seen three days later -- 15 February -- farther north at Cape Hatteras Point (Dare). Though spanning two non-contiguous counties, the NC BRC considered this as a single record, which it accepted [Chat 87:26 link]. What might have been the same adult was seen at Jennette's Pier at Nags Head (Dare) on 20 May 2022, at nearby Oregon Inlet later that day, and at Cape Hatteras Point on 23 May* [Chat 86:80 link]. The NC BRC considered (and accepted) this as a second record for voting purposes [Chat 87:27 link], as three months passed since the first series of sightings, and Dare is much farther up the coast than is New Hanover. Another (if not the same?) adult was photographed at Caswell Beach (Brunswick) on 25 Feb 2023 [Chat 87:38 link]; it has not yet been reviewed by the NC BRC. In spring 2023, this or another adult was seen at Cape Hatteras Point on 9 May and in the Nags Head area -- on the beach near Jennette's Pier -- from 12-22 May [Chat 87:55 link]. A few months later, it or another adult was seen at Cape Lookout (Carteret) on 1 Jul.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SA
Global Rank G4
Coastal Plain Three to roughly six records (see above), all along the coast, though possibly the same adult individual was involved in all of these sightings.
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips
Attribution LeGrand[2023-10-20], LeGrand[2023-08-10], LeGrand[2023-05-17]