A medium-sized, pale gull with large white spots in black wing tips. Adult is pearly-grey above and white below, with chocolate brown partial hood in breeding plumage, reducing to earmark when not breeding. First years have brownish in wings and black tail bars. Has very pale irises and white eye rings. Sexes alike. Scavenges, e especially fish waste from humans, robs terns but also catches flying and surface insects. Light, easy flight. Swims buoyantly, often among ducks and Coots. Breeds colonially in high-altitude bogs.