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Swallow-tailed gull

Swallow-tailed gull in flight
© Carlos Cuenca Solana

Common name:

Swallow-tailed gull

Scientific name:

Creagrus furcatus

Spanish name:

Gaviota de cola bifurcada

Conservation status:

Least Concern


Average size:

53 centimetres

Maximum size:

57 centimetres

Average weight:

625 grams


The swallow-tailed gull is the only species in the genus Creagrus, which comes from the Latin and Greek words for butcher or meat. It is thought that this refers to their hooked bill, reminiscent of a butcher’s hook. 

They are the world’s only nocturnal gull, foraging mainly for squid at night, though they also hunt small fish. Their eyes are adapted for night vision. They are significantly larger than those of other gulls, and have a unique tissue layer that reflects light back through the retina, making them particularly sensitive to light. 

Swallow-tailed gulls in Galapagos

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Read more about swallow-tailed gulls...

Great frigatebird attacking swallow-tailed gull
3rd Aug 2023

Swallow-tailed gulls swoop to victory in 2023 Galapagos Photography Competition

One of the Galapagos Archipelago’s less celebrated species, the swallow-tailed gull, dominated the winning entries to our 2023 photography competition, featuring in all three of the top-rated images.
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