Our Latest News

Call for bilingual rangers to welcome Asian visitors


After a successful trial last year, the Parks and Wildlife Service is increasing its intake of bilingual Discovery Rangers to help provide a quality experience for the increasing number of Asian visitors.More

Comment sought on altering the management plan for Tasman National Park


The State Government is seeking public opinion on the next step to make it easier for tourists and Tasmanians to access and enjoy our natural assets.More

East Coast Whale Trail opened


Whales and visitors to the East Coast will get closer together with a series of new whale viewing sites created between larapuna/Bay of Fires and the Tasman Peninsula.More

Kelp Gull, Larus dominicanus

Kelp Gull
Photo by Peter Grant


The Kelp Gull is the second largest of Australia's gulls (550-580 mm). Adults have a white head, neck, underbody, rump and tail. The upperparts and wing are black with a white leading edge. The yellow bill has a red spot on the lower tip.

Fledglings are grey-brown with paler mottling on the neck and breast and have a black bill but they soon develop a pale base to the bill and largely white head and underparts as they mature. They take three or four years to reach maturity.

Kelp Gulls are smaller than the Pacific Gull, Larus pacificus, and have a less massive bill.


The Kelp Gull occurs in coastal bays, beaches, inlets and estuaries and on off-shore islands. They are often seen scavenging at refuse tips


Kelp Gulls are opportunistic omnivores and will scavenge as well as prey on molluscs, fish, crustaceans, other seabirds, and even their own chicks and eggs.

The Kelp Gull habitually drops molluscs from the air onto rocks to smash them open.


Kelp gulls nest on beaches, among rocks, grassy headlands, ledges and offshore islands. The nest is a bowl of grasses and plants stems or a shallow scrape in sand lined with seaweed, shells and debris. The female usually lays 2 or 3 eggs. Both parents feed the young birds. Chicks peck at red spot on the parent's beak to stimulate the regurgitation reflex.


A melancholy "yo-yo-yo-yo-yo" which is unlike the call of any other Tasmanian gull and will sound familiar as part of the soundscape of films and movies set on coastlines.


Distribution Map courtesy Natural Values Atlas, data from theLIST
© 2010 State of Tasmania
The Kelp Gull occurs on coasts and islands through much of the southern hemisphere from New Zealand and most sub-Antarctic islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, South America, and Africa.

The Kelp Gull first become established in Australia in the 1940s. Their numbers increased rapidly and they are now found in many parts of the south-east and south-west coasts of mainland Australia.

They are common in south-east and eastern Tasmania.