This species has an extremely 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). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely 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.
AOU. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
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.
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.html.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Larus cachinnans (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into L. cachinnans and L. michahellis; L. armenicus (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993; AERC TAC) has been lumped into L. michahellis. These changes to the BirdLife checklist follow examination by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group (BTWG) of a recent review of large white-headed gulls in the Holarctic by Collinson et al. (2008) and associated literature referred to therein. The following species level treatment, shown with subspecific placements, has been adopted by the BTWG: L. fuscus (with intermedius, graellsii, heuglini, taimyrensis and barabensis); L. argentatus (with argenteus, smithsonianus, vegae and mongolicus); L. michahellis (with atlantis and armenicus) and L. cachinnans. This treatment is based on evidence of sympatry, and morphological and behavioural differences, but rejects further splits derived from phylogentic analyses based on mtDNA because Collinson et al. (2008) admit that (1) mtDNA lineages can disappear by random events, resulting in misplacements and displacements in phylogenies, and (2) hybridisation, which seems very widespread in these white-headed gulls, can result in "adoption" of mtDNA sequences by another taxon, completely obscuring the real situation. Collinson et al. (2008) explicitly state "these complications do not just make gull phylogenies difficult: they may cause entirely false conclusions to be drawn about species boundaries it must be recognised that splits or lumps based solely on mtDNA cannot be regarded as robust". While proposed splits not adopted here are not based solely on mtDNA, the morphological evidence presented is not conclusive, taxa are only diagnosable in some cases and there is hybridisation between them.
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.
Flint, V. E.; Boehme, R. L.; Kostin, Y. V.; Kuznetsov, A. A. 1984. A field guide to birds of the USSR. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
Richards, A. 1990. Seabirds of the northern hemisphere. Dragon's World Ltd, Limpsfield, U.K.
del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Snow, D. W.; Perrins, C. M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic vol. 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Gorski, W.; Jakuczun, B.; Nitecki, C.; Petryna, A. 1977. Investigation of oil pollution on the Polish Baltic coast in 1974-1975. Przeglad Zoologiczny 21(1): 20-23.
BirdLife International. 2000. The Development of Boundary Selection Criteria for the Extension of Breeding Seabird Special Protection Areas into the Marine Environment. OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic. Vlissingen (Flushing).
Bregnballe, T.; Noer, H.; Christensen, T. K.; Clausen, P.; Asferg, T.; Fox, A. D.; Delany, S. 2006. Sustainable hunting of migratory waterbirds: the Danish approach. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D. (ed.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 854-860. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.
Melville, D. S.; Shortridge, K. F. 2006. Migratory waterbirds and avian influenza in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway with particular reference to the 2003-2004 H5N1 outbreak. In: Boere, G.; Galbraith, C., Stroud, D. (ed.), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 432-438. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.
Anderson, D.W. 1970. Chlorinated hydrocarbons: their dynamics and eggshell effects in herring gulls and other species. PhD Thesis.
Huppop. O. and Wurm, S. 2000. Effects of winter fishery activities on resting numbers, food and body condition of large gulls Larus argentatus and L-marinus in the south-eastern North Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 194: 241-247.
Klein, R. 1994. Silbermöwen Larus argentatus und Weisskopfmöwen Larus cachinnans auf Mülldeponien in Mecklenburg - erste Ergebnisse einer Ringfundanalyse . Vogelwelt 115: 267-286.
Morris, R.D. and Black, J.E. 1980. Radiotelemetry and herring gull foraging patterns. Journal of Field Ornithology 51: 110-118.
Nogales, M., Zonfrillo, B. and Monaghan, P. 1995. Diets of adult and chick herring gulls Larus argentatus argentatus on Ailsa Craig, south-west Scotland. Seabird 17: 56-63.
Pons, J. M., Migot. P. 1995. Life-history strategy of the herring gull: changes in survival and fecundity in a population subjected to various feeding conditions. Journal of Animal Ecology 64: 592-599.
Sell, M., Vogt., T. 1986. [Ecology of Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus) wintering inland: selection and attachment of feeding and roosting sites in the Ruhr region.]. Vogelwarte5 107: 18-3.
Shamoun-Baranes, J., van Loon, E. 2006. Energetic influence on gull flight strategy selection. Journal of Experimental Biology 209(18): 3489-3498.
Sibley, R. M., McCleery, R. H. 1983. Increase in weight of herring gulls while feeding. Journal of Animal Ecology 52: 35-50.
Spaans, A. L. 1971. On the feeding ecology of the Herring Gull Larus argentatus Pont, in the Northern part of the Netherlands. Ardea 59(3-4): 98-188.
Verbeek, N. A. M. 1977. Timing of primary moult in adult Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. J. Ornithol. 118: 87-92.
Witt, H-H., Crespo, J., de Juana, E. & Varela, J. 1981. Comparative feeding ecology of Audouin’s Gull Larus audouinii and the Herring Gull L. argentatus in the Mediterranean. Ibis 123: 519–526.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)
Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J., Hatchett, J., Malpas, L.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Larus argentatus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/06/2013. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2013) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/06/2013.
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
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Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Least Concern|
|Family||Laridae (Gulls and terns)|
|Species name author||Pontoppidan, 1763|
|Population size||mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||16,400,000 km2|
|Links to further information|
- Additional Information on this species|
- Climate change species distributions