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LC
Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii

Justification
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Distribution and population
The Sooty Gull can be found in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, east to south Pakistan and south to northern Kenya (Kiunga Islands) (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Trend justification
Although Wetlands International consider the population to be increasing, the population is suspected to be in decline owing to unsustainable levels of exploitation (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Ecology
Behaviour This species is a partial migrant or nomad (Urban et al. 1986), most populations undergoing southern post-breeding dispersal movements (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) in September-November (Olsen and Larsson 2003). Some populations may also be sedentary (many remain in the Red Sea area all year round) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species breeds in the Summer (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (usually between April and October) (Olsen and Larsson 2003), and usually nests colonially (e.g. in small loose colonies on the larger islands in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea) (Urban et al. 1986), or occasionally solitarily (e.g. in Africa) (Urban et al. 1986) with 1-3 pairs per island (Urban et al. 1986) often amidst colonies of other species (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It usually forages alone, but is highly gregarious at times (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat The species inhabits coasts and inshore islands and is hardly ever seen inland (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) or at freshwater (Cramp and Simmons 1983). It is found at harbours and ports, and forages inshore, in intertidal zones (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), and up to 10 km beyond reefs (Urban et al. 1986), rarely extending up to 140 km offshore (Cramp and Simmons 1983, del Hoyo et al. 1996). It nests on coastal or inshore coral islands preferring smaller outer islands of old coral that are sparsely vegetated, rocky and sandy, preferably protected from the ocean by live reef (Cramp and Simmons 1983). Diet Its diet consists mainly of dead fish and fishermen's offal, as well as tern eggs and chicks (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), the eggs of White-eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus (Urban et al. 1986), turtle hatchlings (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), prawns and small fish (Cramp and Simmons 1983). It poses a threat to other species as it is a serious local predator of eggs and chicks in colonies of other seabirds (Gallagher et al. 1984). Breeding site The nest is a scrape or depression in bare coral (Kenya) (Cramp and Simmons 1983, Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), under mangrove bushes on a bed of leaves, under Suaeda bushes in loose sand (Somalia) (Cramp and Simmons 1983, Urban et al. 1986), or under low hanging coral (Red Sea) (Cramp and Simmons 1983, del Hoyo et al. 1996) on exposed promontories (Urban et al. 1986). The species usually nests colonially but is more of a solitary nester in Africa, with pairs spaced as far apart as possible (Urban et al. 1986).

Threats
This species is threatened by oil exploration (e.g. pollution from future oil spills (Cooper et al. 1984, Gallagher et al. 1984, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Javed et al. 2005), future land reclamation for oil prospecting in the Gulf region (Javed et al. 2005), and disturbance to breeding birds from future oil drilling in Tanzania) (Cooper et al. 1984). It is also threatened by human exploitation, in particular egg collection (Cooper et al. 1984) from nesting colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

References
Cooper, J.; Williams, A. J.; Britton, P. L. 1984. Distribution, population sizes and conservation of breeding seabirds in the Afrotropical region. In: Croxall, J.P.; Evans, P.G.H.; Schreiber, R.W. (ed.), Status and conservation of the world's seabirds, pp. 403-419. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Cramp, S.; Simmons, K. E. L. 1983. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic vol. III: waders to gulls. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Gallagher, M. D.; Scott, D. A.; Ormond, R. F. G.; Connor, R. J.; Jennings, M. C. 1984. The distribution and conservation of seabirds breeding on the coasts and islands of Iran and Arabia. In: Croxall, J.P.; Evans, P.G.H.; Schreiber, R.W. (ed.), Status and conservation of the world's seabirds, pp. 421-456. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Javed, S.; Khan, S. B.; Launay, F.; Tourenq, C.; Newby, J. 2005. Nest Site Selection by Sooty Gulls on Jarnein Island, United Arab Emirates. Waterbirds 28(2): 246-249.

Olsen, K. M.; Larsson, H. 2004. Gulls of Europe, Asia and North America. Christopher Helm, London.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L., Calvert, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Larus hemprichii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Sooty gull (Larus hemprichii) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Laridae (Gulls, Terns, Skimmers)
Species name author Bruch, 1853
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 158,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change