This species breeds colonially or singly on coasts and cliffs, making a lined nest on the ground or cliff. Normally, 2-4 light brown eggs with dark chocolate splotches are laid.
This is a large and powerful gull, very pale in all plumages, with no black in the wings or tail. Adults are pale grey above, with a thick yellow bill. Immatures are very pale grey with a pink and black bill. This species is larger and thicker billed than the similar Iceland Gull, and is as large as the Great Black-backed Gull. They take four years to reach maturity. The call is a "laughing" cry like Herring Gull.
These are omnivores like most Larus gulls, and they will scavenge as well as seeking suitable small prey. These birds forage while swimming or walking, also may pick up items off water or catch small birds while flying. They often follow fishing boats and are one of the most predatory gulls.