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Herring Gull Larus argentatus

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass -


  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 16,400,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 16,400,000 medium
Number of locations -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals poor Estimated 2009
Population trend Unknown -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 13 - - -
Population justification: The population is estimated to number 2.7-5.7 million individuals, including totals for Larus heuglini.
Trend justification: The overall population trend is uncertain, as some populations are decreasing, while others are increasing or have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006). This species has undergone a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Albania Native Extant Yes    
Antigua and Barbuda Native Extant      
Aruba (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Austria Native Extant   Yes  
Azerbaijan Native Extant      
Bahamas Native Extant      
Barbados Native Extant      
Belarus Native Extant      
Belgium Native Extant      
Belize Native Extant   Yes  
Bermuda (to UK) Native Extant      
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Bulgaria Native Extant      
Canada Native Extant     Yes
Cayman Islands (to UK) Native Extant      
China (mainland) Native Extant      
Colombia Vagrant Extant      
Costa Rica Native Extant   Yes  
Croatia Native Extant      
Cuba Native Extant      
Curaçao (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Cyprus Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Czech Republic Native Extant   Yes  
Denmark Native Extant     Yes
Djibouti Native Extant      
Dominica Native Extant      
Dominican Republic Native Extant      
Ecuador Vagrant Extant      
Egypt Vagrant Extant      
El Salvador Native Extant      
Eritrea Native Extant      
Estonia Native Extant      
Faroe Islands (to Denmark) Native Extant      
Finland Native Extant     Yes
France Native Extant     Yes
Germany Native Extant     Yes
Gibraltar (to UK) Native Extant   Yes  
Greece Native Extant      
Greenland (to Denmark) Native Extant Yes    
Guadeloupe (to France) Native Extant      
Guatemala Native Extant      
Haiti Native Extant      
Honduras Native Extant      
Hong Kong (China) Native Extant      
Hungary Native Extant      
Iceland Native Extant      
India Native Extant      
Ireland Native Extant      
Israel Vagrant Extant   Yes  
Italy Native Extant   Yes  
Jamaica Vagrant Extant      
Japan Native Extant      
Kazakhstan Vagrant Extant      
Kenya Native Extant      
Latvia Native Extant      
Lithuania Native Extant      
Luxembourg Vagrant Extant      
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Native Extant      
Malta Vagrant Extant      
Martinique (to France) Native Extant      
Mexico Native Extant      
Moldova Vagrant Extant      
Mongolia Native Extant Yes    
Montenegro Vagrant Extant      
Montserrat (to UK) Native Extant      
Morocco Vagrant Extant      
Myanmar Native Extant      
Nepal Native Extant      
Netherlands Native Extant      
Nicaragua Native Extant      
North Korea Native Extant Yes    
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Vagrant Extant      
Norway Native Extant     Yes
Pakistan Native Extant      
Palau Unknown Extant      
Panama Native Extant      
Philippines Vagrant Extant      
Poland Native Extant     Yes
Portugal Native Extant      
Puerto Rico (to USA) Native Extant      
Romania Native Extant     Yes
Russia (European) Native Extant Yes   Yes
Serbia Vagrant Extant      
Sint Maarten (to Netherlands) Native Extant      
Slovakia Native Extant     Yes
Somalia Native Extant      
South Korea Native Extant      
Spain Native Extant      
Sri Lanka Native Extant      
St Kitts and Nevis Native Extant      
St Lucia Native Extant      
St Pierre and Miquelon (to France) Native Extant      
St Vincent and the Grenadines Native Extant      
Sudan Native Extant      
Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands (to Norway) Native Extant Yes    
Sweden Native Extant     Yes
Switzerland Native Extant   Yes  
Taiwan (China) Native Extant      
Tanzania Native Extant      
Thailand Native Extant      
Trinidad and Tobago Native Extant      
Turks and Caicos Islands (to UK) Native Extant      
Ukraine Native Extant     Yes
United Kingdom Native Extant      
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Vagrant Extant      
USA Native Extant Yes    
Venezuela Vagrant Extant      
Vietnam Native Extant      
Virgin Islands (to UK) Native Extant   Yes  
Virgin Islands (to USA) Native Extant   Yes  

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
Canada Baie des Escoumins et Grandes-Bergeronnes site factsheet
Canada Banc de Carleton site factsheet
Canada Barrage de Beauharnois site factsheet
Canada Bonaventure Island site factsheet
Canada Cap Tourmente site factsheet
Canada Corbin Island site factsheet
Canada Corossol Island site factsheet
Canada Grand Manan Archipelago site factsheet
Canada Île aux Basques et Les Razades site factsheet
Canada Île aux Fraises site factsheet
Canada Île aux Pommes site factsheet
Canada Île Nue de Mingan site factsheet
Canada Îles Les Boules site factsheet
Canada Îles Pèlerins site factsheet
Canada Îles Sainte-Marie site factsheet
Canada La Grosse Boule Island site factsheet
Canada Marais de Saint-Fulgence site factsheet
Canada Montmagny site factsheet
Canada Niagara River Corridor site factsheet
Canada Pelee Island Archipelago site factsheet
Canada Pittock Reservoir site factsheet
Canada Quidi Vidi Lake site factsheet
Canada Quoddy Region site factsheet
Canada Sable Island, Nova Scotia site factsheet
Canada Saint-Augustin Migratory Bird Sanctuary site factsheet
Canada Shigawake-Newport site factsheet
Canada Tadoussac site factsheet
Canada Wildwood Gull Roost site factsheet
Canada Witless Bay Islands site factsheet
Denmark Skagerrak-Southwest Norwegian trench site factsheet
France Archipel de Molène site factsheet
France Archipel des Glénan site factsheet
France Cap Gris-nez site factsheet
France Estuaire de la Canche site factsheet
France Traicts et marais salants de la Presqu'île Guérandaise site factsheet
Mongolia Dashinchilen Bayan Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Erkhel Lake site factsheet
Mongolia Oigon Lake site factsheet
Norway Hornøy and Reinøy site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Angara river source site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Iony island site factsheet
Russia (Asian) Ol'khon area site factsheet
Russia (European) Berezovye islands of Vyborg Bay site factsheet
Russia (European) Seskar island site factsheet
United Kingdom Firth of Forth Islands site factsheet
United Kingdom Isle of Man Sea Cliffs site factsheet
United Kingdom Morecambe Bay site factsheet
United Kingdom Upper Solway Flats and Marshes site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Excavations (open) suitable breeding
Artificial/Aquatic & Marine Water Storage Areas (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Coastal Freshwater Lakes suitable non-breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses) suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches suitable breeding
Marine Intertidal Tidepools suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Estuaries suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) marginal resident
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) marginal resident
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable breeding
Wetlands (inland) Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha) suitable non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 2000 m Occasional altitudinal limits  


Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Food (human) Whole Eggs Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Pets Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Recent
Sport Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Larus argentatus. Downloaded from on 21/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/04/2014.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Laridae (Gulls and terns)
Species name author Pontoppidan, 1763
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 16,400,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species
- Climate change species distributions